NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mariano Rivera caused quite the commotion at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night — or at least his bobblehead doll did.
The Yankees launched a promotion in which the first 18,000 fans in attendance at the game against the Tampa Bay Rays would receive a doll in the likeness of the retiring future of Hall of Famer. But because the shipment was late due to a transportation problem, there were no bobbleheads to give away when the gates opened.
Stadium workers instead handed out vouchers for the dolls, said 1010 WINS producer and Yankees fan Jim Powers.
But fan Lou Licameli told WCBS 880 that even vouchers were in short supply. Other fans said they arrived well before the game and were never told about the vouchers.
During the game the public address announcer informed fans that the souvenirs had arrived and they could start collecting their bobbleheads after the third inning.
Long lines soon formed, with people cutting in and arguments erupting, Licameli said.
“There’s a lot of mayhem, people cutting in line, aggravation,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. And we’re sitting here missing the majority of the game, which we bought our tickets to see. The way they handled this, someone’s head should roll over it.”
“It was a mess,” Ken Latchney told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider. “They made us wait a half-hour, 40 minutes to go in. Then you go in and they tell you they’re not even here. Then when they are ready to get them, you have to go up to the fourth level and come down.”
Latchney said he missed four innings of the game, which the Yankees lost 7-0.
Even before the coveted keepsakes were being handed out, fans were angry about the voucher system, Powers said.
“A lot of people were upset that were coming in. They wanted to know why they weren’t getting their bobbleheads,” Powers said. “They were wondering what to do with these vouchers. They were hoping to get them.”
Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said a train transporting the dolls from Seattle had a mechanical problem Monday. Then the truck bringing the bobbleheads from the train to the stadium had “hydraulic issues,” causing further delays.
While people were still waiting in lines, several of the figurines were already popping up on eBay — one with a buy-it-now price of $249.99.
Fan David Convery, Esq., said he was not worried about having to wait for his bobblehead.
“We kind of understand that things like that can happen. We know that a lot of the fans are likely upset by it,” he said. “I think that the Yankees are a standup organization, and they’re going to do what is necessary to make the fans satisfied and happy.”
The retiring Rivera was honored at the Yankees’ game against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, with a performance by Metallica of the song “Enter Sandman” in honor of Rivera’s nickname. The Yankees also hung Rivera’s No. 42 in Monument Park among the team’s other retired numbers.
“Mariano Rivera Day” generated an energetic atmosphere at Yankee Stadium, with fans — many wearing their idol’s No. 42 — standing throughout the ceremony.
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