SALISBURY, Md.- A Somerset County girl did not want a big "Sweet 16" party for her birthday last week. She just wanted to go to the ballpark and win a jersey at Friday night's Delmarva Shorebirds game. Casey Nelson got her birthday wish, but said it did not exactly turn out the way she had hoped.
Sixteen-year-old Casey said she bid on and won Shorebird third-baseman Jason Esposito's number "9" jersey in a charity auction. When she went to get it from him, Casey said he tried to buy it back. According to Casey, Esposito then started yelling and cursing at her after she said she wanted to keep it.
Fans said the normal sounds of cheers were replaced with loud "boo's" at Sunday night's game, after word spread that Esposito allegedly cursed out a young fan at the stadium Friday night -- all over a jersey.
The accusations are not sitting well with many fans.
"I think it's kind of disrespect that this baseball player would do this to a young teenager, especially a female of all things," said Aaron Morrison. "I don't think there's any reason why that baseball player shouldn't have given her the jersey."
"I think it's an awful thing and he's a professional and he should have kept it professional and he should be suspended, if not fired," added Coralee Dykes of Eden.
Casey's family said she has been to almost every game and knows many of the players on a first-name basis.
The Nelson's explained they fault the player, not the Shorebirds organization, and just want to know the situation is being handled appropriately.
Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters told WBOC he takes fan comments and concerns very seriously and immediately refunded the family and gave Casey another player's jersey.
"These are serious allegations against a player with regards to comments that he made, may have made or may not have made, to a fan," he said. "We, from the Shorebirds need, obviously look to address that fan's issues from what we control very quickly and swiftly. The Orioles, who our players are contracted with and play for, make the decisions on players. They're well aware of the situation."
Casey's father told WBOC he spoke with Orioles Director of Player Personnel John Stockstill, who said he is planning on meeting with Esposito to get to the bottom of what happened.
While these allegations have many fans calling on the Shorebirds to take action, the decision as to how to proceed rests with the Orioles.
"We obviously value our fans and their comments to us and we take those things seriously," Bitters said. "The Orioles are taking that seriously as well, and once they can have an opportunity to talk to everybody and get more facts, they'll handle thing in their personnel side of the role."
Monday, May 20 2013 9:13 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:13:36 GMT
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