Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s likeness has been captured in a baseball bobblehead. (Courtesy Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
LAKELAND, FL — When the Lakeland Flying Tigers take the field Friday night they will be under the watchful eye of colorful Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Make that 2,400 watchful eyes of the good sheriff.
The first 1,200 paid adult fans, 13 and up, will each receive a voucher for a free Sheriff Grady Judd bobblehead as they enter the stadium. The bobbleheads will be distributed starting in the fifth inning.
"You can take me home, your very own Sheriff Grady Judd bobblehead, to look over your house when you’re not there," Judd said in a promotion for the giveaway by the minor league franchise owned by the Detroit Tigers.
Judd’s folksy way of describing some pretty terrible criminals and their misdeeds have made him one of the best known figures in central Florida and within Florida law enforcement circles.
Earlier this month, Judd described a North Carolina fugitive like this:
"For some reason, he thought Polk County would be a good place to hide. We’re not too fond of the bad guys who are already in the county," said Judd on social media. "We certainly aren’t thrilled with out-of-state bad guys who want to bring their violent drama here."
This week Judd had this to say about a suspected thief:
"If we had to say something nice about him, we would say that he doesn’t let failure stop him," the sheriff lamented. "Too bad he can’t put that quality to good use instead of using it for criminal exploit."
The unusual giveaway is part of the team’s law enforcement appreciation weekend. On Saturday, the sheriff’s office is playing against the Lakeland Police Department in a battle of the badges softball game prior to the Flying Tigers game.
The bobbleheads are sponsored by 97.5 WPCV and Browning Moving and Storage. Fans must be present to claim their bobblehead.
The gates open on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Flying Tigers hit the field at 6:30 p.m. to play Fort Myers.
On Saturday, the gates open at 3 p.m. The first pitch for the softball game will be at 3:45 p.m. Teams will halt play at 5 p.m. before the Flying Tigers take the field at 6 p.m. with new specialty jerseys.
The jerseys will be available for $100. Jerseys will be game worn and autographed by a Flying Tigers player or coach following the game.
Proceeds from the jersey raffle will benefit the corresponding foundations of the Lakeland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The team is also offering a promotion for a signed Sheriff Grady Judd Bobblehead as well as two tickets to the May 31 game. See details below:
What does the sheriff think about the bobbleheads?
"He loves it," spokesman Brian Bruchey said of the lawman’s reaction. "Several people pooled their money together a few years back and had one made for a Christmas gift. We’ve even had some fun with it on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests for one."
Click here to purchase tickets to the Lakeland Flying Tigers. For additional event information, contact Dan Lauer at 863-413-4115 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.