As Eric M. has mentioned here several times this season, the Clearwater Threshers are celebrating the 2008 World Series win of its parent club, the Philadelphia Phillies, by staging bobblehead giveaway nights in honor of each regular member of the starting lineup. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins already had their days; Pat Burrell was scheduled to be handed out last night – until the mighty Tampa Bay Rays reached down and put the kibosh on the whole deal.
The Threshers are in violation of the Major League Baseball Agency Agreement which, in this instance, prohibits the promotion of the Phillies brand within the home television territory of the Tampa Bay Rays.
It seems strange that the Rays are just calling the Threshers on this now when it was clearly a planned season-long promotion. All I can figure is that it had something to do the fact that Burrell left Philadelphia for Tampa as a free agent after last season and the Rays don’t want an organization located twenty minutes away to give away bobbleheads of one of their players in another team’s uniform.
On a local note, this helps explain why the New Hampshire Fisher Cats give away mostly Red Sox-themed bobbleheads. Because they are within the Red Sox “home television territory”, they probably aren’t able to do such giveaways related to the Blue Jays, or at the very least require special permission to do so.
Update: Okay, so it wasn’t directly related to the Burrell bobblehead. Much a pity.
The Threshers had already given out one bobblehead and were advertising the second when the Rays first raised the issue a month ago. On Thursday night — the eve of Friday’s planned third giveaway, of former Phillie and current Ray Pat Burrell — the Threshers ended the promotion.
That article also notes the question of what to do with sponsorship money and the bobbleheads themselves.