An upcoming promotion by the Rays' Hudson Valley (N.Y.) minor-league team has turned into a bit of a battle of the sexes.
The (aptly named) Renegades planned Tuesday's promotion to honor women by keeping men outside the gates for the first five innings, dressing their male employees in ladies clothing and offering spa treatments.
The idea, hatched by Tyler Tumminia, a female executive with the ownership group, was to spotlight women in baseball (Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman will throw out the first pitch) and salute the purchasing power of female fans.
But then the naysayers started squawking, with Duchess County officials requesting the promotion be canceled due to human rights issues and a sponsor, the New York Lottery, asking out (though several others bought in just for the night).
"It's gotten a bit overblown," said team president Jeff Goldklang, who has no plans to cancel. "We're a bit surprised. We were trying to have a little fun, create a unique kind of Ladies Night and poke a little fun at the political correctness that's taken over."
Goldklang said the short-season Class A team won't violate any laws or bar anyone. And if a male fan really wants in, he can have in, though it will be "strongly suggested" he wait.
The complaints, Goldklang said, "are coming from the vocal minority. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive."
There also will be promotions during the night to encourage the team's pitchers to throw more strikes and prizes given when there are no balls thrown.