They're Rays game regulars, situated in some of the best seats of the house. But now, some animal activists are calling on the Tampa Bay Rays to shut down its popular stingray tank after a close call with a home run ball.
It's one home run Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera won't likely forget. The Tiger's homer soared over the stands and landed smack inside the Trop's stingray tank late last month.
"It was kind of surprising. It was just a long homerun to right-center. I think that's the first one I've seen go in there," Rays fan Glenn Cain said.
It's one time too many, according to the animal activist group PETA.
"It's clear that the animals are in immediate danger," PETA's Carrie Poppy said Wednesday.
PETA wrote a letter to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, asking them to shut down the team's touch tank immediately and return the stingrays to the wild.
"These animals are constantly poked and prodded by strangers, and if that weren't enough, now they're in constant danger of being struck by a ball," Poppy said.
The Rays aren't commenting on PETA's request. Rays fans were the first to stick up for the team's 10,000 gallon tank and it's nearly 20 residents.
"I think as long as they're cared for, they're a great fan favorite. It seems like it's being done in a way that's very careful to make sure they're cared for well," said Joel Willitts as he stood alongside the tank before Wednesday's game.
The touch tank stringrays are cared for by a full-time Florida Aquarium employee that's present whether or not there's a game that day.
Since the tank opened in 2006, there's only been one other occasion that a ball has landed in the touch tank during a game.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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