What the fungus? Now hold on one second here. A Tampa Bay Rays fan, at the Tampa Bay Rays home stadium, was kicked out of Tropicana Field because he refused to take off his “Yankees Suck” t-shirt? Did I wake up in Bizarro World or something?
Sadly, it actually happened to Melton H. Little, an attorney from nearby Palmetto and the owner of seven season tickets. Little was attending a game between the Rays and New York Yankees on May
15th 16th with his two sons. Minding their business while cheering on the hometown nine while surrounded by interloping Yankees fans. Things were fine until the fourth inning, when Little was approached by security. The following exchange between Little and the security guard transpired (via Tampa Bay Online):
“The security guard says Major League Baseball has determined that the shirt constitutes profanity,” Little said. “He tells me to get another shirt, cover it up, turn it inside out or leave the stadium.
“I said, ‘That’s unbelievable,’ and he says, ‘I don’t’ make rules, I’m just telling you.’ “
Little refused to remove his “Yankees Suck” shirt, so he and his two sons were escorted from his seats – three of the seven seats he paid $20,000 this year for season tickets. Little was afforded the opportunity to plead his case to some Rays suit after he was embarrassingly and wrongly removed from his seats, but that didn’t bring about a favorable resolution as the front office employee simply shut the door on him. That’s a pretty impressive display of customer relations right there.
Undeterred in the belief that he had done nothing wrong, Little then wrote a letter to the Rays requesting clarification of the team’s dress code policy. Little argued that he had done nothing wrong and that the shirt was not “obscene, offensive or indecent,” which the fan handbook forbids. When asked, Rays spokesperson Rick Vaughn refused to elaborate on Little’s letter other than acknowledging that he has reviewed the letter and that the Rays get “tons of letters from fans all the time.” Helpful.
Obviously, I am siding with Mr. Little on this one. In light of all the terrible things that are reported every day regarding the reprehensible, drunken and often criminalistic behavior which occurs at ballparks across America to a disturbing and alarming degree, merely wearing a “Yankees Suck” shirt pales in comparison to those troubling activities. Further, given the fact that the Rays have an incredibly difficult time getting fans to, you know, actually show up for games, hassling a guy who has seven freaking season tickets and has been an owner of season tickets since 1998 when the Rays began play at Tropicana Field, well, I don’t have to tell you that security did and the team is continuing to take a completely moronic stance on this issue. Simply idiotic.
Oh, and the Yankees do suck, by the way, although that is just my opinion. An opinion probably shared by the 400 Rays fans who actually showed up at the game in question. So why not hassle one of them? Genius!
Yankees-hating shirt gets Rays fan in trouble [Tampa Bay Online]