A fan attending Saturday night's Tampa Bay-Pittsburghgame in Bradenton, Florida, was arrested after charging the field and throwing two bottles into the Rays dugout in an apparent protest of the team's trip to Cuba earlier this week.
Bradenton police arrested a man of Cuban descent in the top of the seventh inning at McKechnie Fieldand charged him with trespassing, assault and starting affray,Lt. John Affolter said.
"I've worked games here for 23 years and I've never seen anything like it," Affolter said. "I've seen a streaker, I've seen a lot. I thought I'd seen it all."
The fan, who police did not identify, was yelling in Spanish about the team's trip to Cuba,shouting obscenities about the Castro regime. The fan threw an aluminum beer bottle and a Pepsi bottle into Tampa Bay's dugout, one of which exploded on the back wall.
"It was a Cuba thing,'' Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't speak Spanish too well. ... I think it was a Cuban person, frustrated about the politics of it, I guess. He threw two beer cans. Nobody got hit. Nobody did anything. Maybe some guys got wet. It was a Cuba thing.''
Added Rays utility playerTaylor Motter on the bottles thrown: "We just tried to duck and weave as best we could.''
According to the Times, Tampa Bay third-base coach Charlie Montoyo grabbed the man after he jumped over a wall at the far end of the team's dugout. Montoyo held him until police intervened.
"I just saw him throwing stuff to the dugout and then I realized his age so I was just holding him and I was telling him, I realized he speaks Spanish, telling him to relax,'' Montoyo said, according to the Times. "I didn't hear what he was yelling, I just saw the two things and then I was holding him. He smelled like beer or rum or something. ... To me it was an old person drunk so I felt bad for him.''
The man also was hollering at the Rays bus when it arrived, the Times reported.
Motter described the on-field incident as scary.
"If it was or wasn't related to Cuba or it was or wasn't related to MLB, I still feel like security should have been there a little more knowing that we're on the map a little bit," he told the Times. "But they did a good job coming to get him as quickly as possible.''
The Rays played the Cuban national team Tuesday in Havana, marking the first visit by a major league team to the communist island since 1999.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Fan arrested at Rays game in apparent protest of trip to Cuba
More TOP STORIES News