Almost immediately after the Pittsburgh Pirates learned they will play their next 80 games without Starling Marte due to a drug violation, the team had an easy decision to make. A Starling Marte jersey giveaway for kids 14 and under in July will still go on mostly as planned, but the kids won’t be getting the Marte jersey that had been advertised.
The Pirates were scheduled to give away Marte replica jerseys on July 2 to kids 14 and under. Marte won’t be back on the field by then, and the Pirates had a PR decision to make now before it was too late. Choosing not to give a jersey for a player guilty of a steroid violation to young baseball fans, the Pirates will instead give away jerseys of another player to be determined.
“We decided that it would not be appropriate to provide the Marte alternate jersey on the originally scheduled day while Starling is on the restricted list,” Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said in a released statement.
Now the Pirates must figure out which player will be honored with the jersey giveaway on July 2. It is likely the Pirates will stay away from another player already lined up for a special promo, which leaves bobblehead honorees Francisco Cervelli, Jordy Mercer, and Gregory Polanco out of the mix. Andrew McCutchen seems to make the most sense, but given that he could be trade bait come the trade deadline, that might not be the best option. The last thing Pittsburgh will want to do now is offer a revised jersey for a player that may not be in town by then. However, that would be quite humorous from a non-partisan point of view.
The simple solution to avoid another potential disaster would be to go retro with this promo. You can never go wrong giving some recognition to late legends like Roberto Clemente or Willie Stargell, right? Or maybe it’s about time to give Andy Van Slyke some props?
As noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this is the second straight year the Pirates have had to alter their planned giveaways focused on one player. Last year, fans were given the choice of receiving a Jung-Ho Kang bobblehead or a voucher for a different one following a sexual assault allegation against Kang.