Mariano Rivera's Bobbleheads Arrive Late to Yankee Stadium, Upsetting Fans

Fans who had been waiting for the bobbleheads grew impatient

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013  |  Updated 6:07 AM PDT
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AP

Fans line up outside Gate 4 at Yankee Stadium for a free Mariano Rivera bobblehead doll before the Yankees' baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday.

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Yankee fans who showed up early to Tuesday's game hoping to score a Mariano Rivera bobblehead doll were upset to learn they'd have to wait because the toys were delayed getting to the stadium. 

The Yankees had to hand out vouchers for the giveaway honoring the career saves leader to the first 18,000 fans who arrived for the game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I had no idea the line was going to be this long," said JP Giugliano. "I've been a Yankees fan for 34 years and I love Mariano Rivera. I got off the train and I couldn't believe the lines. It's disheartening."

Reggie Moore, who arrived early to the game from Chicago, said he'd been eager to get his hands on what he saw as an eventual collector's item. 

"We figure if we get it, we give it our kids, they give it to their kids. And he goes into the Hall of Fame, it might be worth even more," he said. 

A public address announcement in the bottom of the third inning said the bouncy figurines were finally available to be picked up. Fans rushed to get the dolls, leading to a "tense atmosphere," according to Yankee fan Gerry Kinney.

"It was a frenzy," he said. "There were even some fistfights. People had gotten very frustrated and very impatient." 

Jim Starece said the distribution was disorganized and was frustrated he and his daughter missed nearly the entire game as they waited for the dolls.

"We thought they were going to figure out a better way of giving it to us at the end of the game, but we had to wait on a long line and finally we got it," he said. "I'm not sure it was worth it."

"We saw three innings, and then we got on line and we were too frustrated by the time we got them that we left," said Lynn Starece. 

The promotion came on the opening night of the Yankees' final three-game home series of the regular season.

Rivera said before the start of the season that 2013 would be his last as a player. The team retired Rivera's number during a ceremony Sunday.

Ida Siegal contributed to this report. 

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