Roughly eight months after their World Series defeat, the Rays finally did away with the Phillies—well, sort of.
The Rays eliminated roughly 25,000 Phillies bobbleheads that were set to be given away over the remainder of the season through promotions at high Class A Clearwater, a Phillies affiliate planning to celebrate the big club’s World Series championship by giving away replicas of nine players.
However, according to a story by Marc Topkin in the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays contacted Major League Baseball and requested the remaining seven promotions be canceled because it was in violation of major league marketing rules—which state that the Rays have rights to their home territory, and that the Threshers are prohibited from marketing the Phillies brand within the Rays television territory.
I’ll have more on this later, and presumably an answer to why the Rays chose this instance to enforce this rule. There are plenty of minor league clubs that operate in opposing big league markets. Do they adhere to these marketing rules as well? (Topkin points out that Dunedin and Tampa also fall in the Rays television territory.)
“It’s disappointing to us and it’s disappointing to our fans,’’ Threshers GM John Timberlake told The Times. “”We were in violation of the agreement and we didn’t realize it. We’re trying to stay good-natured about it. We’re minor league baseball.’’
More to come . . .
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