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Cuba Protest: Tampa Bay Fan Throws Beer Cans Into Dugout

Image: Cuba Protest: Tampa Bay Fan Throws Beer Cans Into Dugout

Tampa Bay Rays and Cuban national team play in Havana on March 22. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

By    |   Monday, 28 Mar 2016 10:31 AM

A Cuba protest made it to the big leagues on Saturday when a fan throwing beer cans like hand grenades stormed the Tampa Bay Rays dugout during Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The fan charged the field in Florida, yelling in Spanish about the team’s recent exhibition game in Cuba and shouting obscenities about the Castro regime, ESPN reported. He was arrested and charged with trespassing, assault and starting affray.

No one was hurt in the incident, which caused a brief delay in the game as a Pirates' grounds crewmember and Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo restrained the protester until police arrived, The Associated Press reported.

"I realized he speaks Spanish, so I was telling him to relax," Montoyo said, according to the AP. "I didn't hear what he was yelling. He looked old, so I kind of felt bad for him. I was holding him and not trying to tackle him."

The fan was later identified as Heliodoro Gutierrez, 67, who lives near McKechnie Field in Bradenton where the game was held, and is originally from Cuba, WTSP-TV reported.

The team is increasing security after the incident.

"I think he just missed a couple of the guys,'' player Taylor Motter said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "I know it hit the back wall and exploded. ... We just tried to duck and weave as best we could.''

Motter was rattled by the event.

"It just scares me,'' he said. "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. But they did a good job coming to get him as quickly as possible.''

Tampa Bay was the first Major League baseball team to play in Cuba since 1999, USA Today reported. President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro attended the historic exhibition, sitting together in the stands.

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A Cuba protest made it to the big leagues on Saturday when a fan throwing beer cans like hand grenades stormed the Tampa Bay Rays dugout during Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
cuba, protest, tampa bay, fan, beer can, dugout
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2016-31-28
Monday, 28 Mar 2016 10:31 AM
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