MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Torii Hunter was so happy last fall when Kansas City's season-ending win over Detroit gave Minnesota the division title he vowed to buy a bottle of champagne for each of the Royals.
``Every one of them! Dom Perignon!'' Hunter said on Oct. 1 as he celebrated with teammates.
But Major League Baseball has a rule against such rewards, as Hunter recently found out.
Though he didn't fully follow through on his gesture, Hunter had four bottles of champagne sent to Mike Sweeney's stall in the Kansas City clubhouse when the Twins were there over the weekend.
The commissioner's office informed the team on Monday of the violation, and general manager Terry Ryan straightened the situation out with the Royals. The unopened bottles were to be sent back to Minnesota.
``There isn't any harm done. There's nobody that benefited from anything. I think it's a good reminder about the integrity of the game,'' Ryan said Tuesday.
The rule, 21-b, regards misconduct and is titled ``Gift For Defeating Competing Club.'' It prohibits anyone connected with a particular team from offering a gift or reward to a person connected with another club for an attempt to defeat a competing club. The giver and receiver, without notification of the commissioner's office, are subject to ineligibility for ``not less than three years.''
Ryan said he didn't anticipate punishment.
The rule is posted inside the Twins' clubhouse, but Hunter said Tuesday that he didn't know about it until this week. The MLB public relations office had no comment Tuesday, because officials were still gathering information.
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