MIAMI: A drunken fan angered by the Tampa Bay Rays’ trip to Cuba for an exhibition game hurled bottles into the Major League Baseball team’s dugout in protest Saturday and was arrested by Florida police.
The man of Cuban heritage was charged with trespassing, assault and starting an affray after throwing bottles and shouting denunciations of the Castro regime during the seventh inning of a Rays’ exhibition game against Pittsburgh.
Rays third-base coach Charlie Montoyo detained the unnamed man, who jumped over a wall near the end of the dugout, and held him until police arrived, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
“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 told 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.”
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro sat side-by-side for an exhibition game between the Rays and Cuba’s national team in Havana.
The occasion, which made the Rays the first Major League team to play in Cuba since 1999, coincided with Obama’s landmark visit, a first for a US president in 88 years.