The Mahoning Valley Scrappers release all of their promotions before the season starts, they are on the schedule. Ex-US Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. release night has been on the schedule since June. The event was scheduled to be held at the Scrappers September 2 home game, the same night Traficant is released from federal prison. There was no opposition to the promo until this week.
The Youngstown Vindicator has started the media circus which will definitely surround Traficant’s freedom. In an article from Sunday’s August 9th edition, an article highlighting different Traficant events was printed. In the article, a party to honor Traficant’s release at Mr. Anthony’s, a local banquet facility, boasted of a festive celebration welcoming Jim home. In the same article, the Scrapper promotional plan was listed, causing a swarm of phone calls to the Scrapper offices.
Scrappers General Manager, Dave Smith, decided to pull the plug on the promotion after receiving over 100 e-mails and phone calls speaking out against the planned night. “Unfortunately, I feel that most people misunderstood the intention of the promotion,” said Smith. “The night was never planned as a celebration of his release, yet it’s obvious that is how it is being perceived. It will surely be a topic of great debate in the coming months and we were planning to provide a public forum for both supporters and detractors to have their voices heard. In hindsight, there are likely better venues than a baseball game for the community to share their thoughts and feelings on Jim.”
Smith said that 95% of the calls received were negative. Once the promotion was cancelled he noted that a woman called and said she wanted reimbursed for the tickets she had purchased for Traficant Night. The support calls coming in are much less in quantity than the negatives received prior to the cancellation.
Traficant, who is completing his seven year sentence for racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion, was never expected to show up at the game, and the concept was to show slides of the idiotic and brilliant moments of his time spent in Washington.
Sigh. Beam Me Up.