Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rays minor-league team cancels ‘A-Rod Juice Box Night’

The Port Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tampa Bay's Class A affiliate, had intended to give the first 500 fans a free juice box as a subtle jab at Alex Rodriguez before Friday night’s game. But, after the Yankees complained about the “A-Rod Juice Box Night” promotion, saying they found it "in poor taste," the Florida team cancelled the free giveaway.

In a photo illustration on the team's Twitter and Facebook pages, a woman is drinking from a juice box with this label (containing the wrong spelling of effects):

The Sports Drink
100 % Juiced
Side Affects include: tainted records, inflated ego, omission from the Hall of Fame, and more!

The Yankees contacted the MLB commissioner's office and the Florida State League after consulting with the Rays, who notified them of the promotion, according to — even after the controversy of his return to baseball from a year-long suspension seems to be wearing off.

The team web site said the first 500 fans would get a free juice box (which they can drink or donate to the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition) and any fans bringing A-Rod T-shirts, hats or other merchandise to be donated to the Salvation Army can get a free ticket.

The Stone Crabs later apologized:

"On behalf of our entire organization I apologize to the New York Yankees, our affiliate club the Tampa Bay Rays, and all fans who may have taken offense," said Stone Crabs General Manager, Jared Forma.  "While our intent was to raise awareness for the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition and the Salvation Army, we realize this promotion may have been offensive to many and for that we are sorry and have decided to cancel the promotion.  The Stone Crabs organization has the utmost respect for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays organizations and wishes both organizations only the best in the future."

The Charlotte Sports Park had a mixed bag of other promotions set up for the 6:30 p.m. game as well. The team was also offering a free beer special ($15, all you can drink from when gates open at 5 until end of the first inning) and it's All-Star Kids Club Night!

Rodriguez, who would be in New York while the Yankees played the Texas Rangers had no comment.

The Stone Crabs team is owned by Ripken Baseball, and operated independently of the Rays front office.

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