LAST SATURDAY the A's gave out 10,000 T-shirts with the image of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who had just defended his Home Run Derby title, and the words la potencia—the Power. The only issue: Two days prior, Oakland had traded Cespedes to the Red Sox. It's hardly the worst promotional screwup in sports history, especially when compared with these five, rated from mildly to extremely problematic.
March 17, 1987
Fed up with the struggling Knicks and especially with center Patrick Ewing, fans at Madison Square Garden destroyed the Ewing posters they received pregame. One even ran courtside to do his best rip job. Ewing was unfazed, and the next year began a run of 10 straight All-Star seasons.
April 13, 1978
A Reggie Jackson home run the day Yankees fans were given his eponymous candy bar prompted the patrons to shower their hero—and the field—with the treat. "People are starving and 30 billion calories are laying on the field," said White Sox manager Bob Lemon.
Nov. 7, 2008
It wasn't advertised, but the Nuggets still thought it was a good idea to offer free kittens during a game at the Pepsi Center. PETA was pissed, issuing a statement that read, in part, "Handing kittens out like candy for any spectator who wants one is a virtual death sentence for the animals."
July 12, 1979
What was worse than disco? Hosting Disco Demolition Night between games of a doubleheader. As a stack of disco records burned, the explosions and rowdy White Sox fans damaged the field at Comiskey Park so much that the nightcap was canceled, with the Tigers winning by forfeit.
June 4, 1974
It didn't take long for 10-Cent Beer Night at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium to go from silly—a streaker—to serious. By the ninth inning, it was a full-scale riot; the Rangers had to use bats against the suds-fueled mob just to get off the field. The consolation: They won by forfeit.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
South Carolina self-reported several NCAA violations last year, including one for impermissible icing on "cookie cakes" given to recruits.
JERRY WACHTER/THE LIFE IMAGES COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES (EWING)
CHUCK SOLOMON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (REGGIE BAR)
MICHAEL CHEN/GETTY IMAGES (CATS)
GEN SADAKANE/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES (DISCO BALL)
GETTY IMAGES (GAUGE)
IGOR KISSELEV/FOTOLIA.COM (COOKIE)