10 Reasons to Attend Rays Games…….NOW!
It is so dang sad. I thought the day was over that I would see a spectacle like that again within the walls of this dome. It is so gut-wrenching to see the the current Rays crowd revert basically back to 2001 when the Rays squads sometimes could not buy a win with a certified check. To see both Rays fans get up out of the lower bowl and move towards the exits in the top of the eight inning is just……..not right.
I remember something that has stood in my mind since those early days of ray-dom. It was a small homemade sign constructed by a lady who was a Season Ticket holder and used to sit around the 130-132 Section. Every time, late in the game when people used to file out of the Trop just after the 7th Inning Stretch, she used to put up that a hand-made sign that basically said ” Real fans stay until the end of the Game!” Well, last night, I again saw that ancient custom rear its ugly head during our first game against the Boston Red Sox.
I am not going to sit here and whine or callout fans for not attending the game. I have done just that twice this week, and it seems that deaf ears are the current craze within this Tampa Bay community. And besides, there are enough people throwing the fans under the bus today that maybe I should be the one to actually help them back up and show them 10 reasons to attend a Rays game this week. Hopefully starting with tonight’s great pitching match-up and “Must Win” mentality.
So instead of showing the dark side of last night’s abysmal attendance figure, let’s try and accent the positive and show the community that this can and will be the “E”-ticket ride of the week and weekend. Hey, I know from personal experience over the last few years that if you enjoy watching people and also sports, coming to these games are a total “Win, Win” situation.
10 reasons to attend a Rays game this home stand:
1) Share a fistbump with a NEW friend
This Rays team is putting it all on the line right now to survive the cut-throat world of pennant race baseball. If you missed out on the chance to see it live in 2008, here is your chance to again get swept up in the momentum and the thrill of cheering on a winning Rays team this late in the season. And it is great to meet and enjoy something a bonding as a baseball game. It is also a great way to find people who share the same interest as you (baseball) and could spark into more than a post-game beverage at Ferg’s or the Brewhouse listening to the Rays Post Game Show.
2) So Affordable, even a Caveman can attend
ESPN recently names the Rays the “Most Affordable Sports Option”. JUst think about that people. In an era where everything is going up daily, the Rays have kept their ticket prices and their concessions within acceptable levels to increase to promote the fan’s wanting to come out and partake in a game. Also in the cards here is numerous great ticket options and plans that can heighten the Rays fans experience. Even if this is considered “Prime” ticket prices, you can get a ticket in the Right Field Outfield in Section 148 row T (front Row) for $24 . And if that is too high, how about a ticket in the TBT Party Deck, which has an Ybor City feel to it for $ 16
3) Great Things to Do before a Rays game
Contrary to public opinion there are a huge amount of things to do before a Rays game. From walking through the pretigious and historic Ted Williams Hitter’s Museum located right within the confines of Tropicana Field, you can stroll through the many exhibits and see classic uniforms, autographs and also photos of historic events both from the past, and the recent Rays run to the World Series. Maybe you want a personal baseball card or a wooden Louisville Slugger for your office or den. Or maybe you are a closet Sports announcer and will give the “You Make the Call” booth a try to see if you are the next Curt Gowdy.
4) For the Food Loving fans……..A MEGA Treat!
For you lovers of the show “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel, the Rays Budweiser Brewhouse has a challenge for you. It is a monster burger filled with a zillion calories and just as much cheese and bacon smothered oin the side with a pound of fries that should make any carnavior happy and gald to be alive. Even if the only prize is a T-shirt, the photo recognition on the wall would be instand bragging right to friends and family to also come on in and partake in the glutanous challenge.
5) “Good Seats are Still Available”
This same phrase has been blasted in radio ads and also television spots even before this past weekend, and it is a Rays ticket bonanza right now within the stadium. Uusually if you walk-up to the Rays Ticket Office this late in a series you can only find the odd single seat in the lower bowl or the outfield and you have to resort to the Upper Deck or the TBO Party Deck to take in a game. Right now seats are open in some of the prime locations of the stadium, and you can be the proud owner of a ticket in these sections. And with that ticket, you can now voice any of your opinions to John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times ( www.tbo.com) If you read his column today, it will all make sense).
6) Stiff the Rays for $20
If you get a group of friend (at least 4) to come with you to a game, you can drive right up to the main parking lot at the Trop and after a short view by the parking attendant you and your friends can drive right on into the main parking area and put that $ 20 back into your wallet for later use. That is right, if 4 or more of you and your friends are situated in one car, the parking in the main lot is FREE that night. That “saved” $20 can then be spent on the many food and beverage options. Where else in the MLB will the team reward you for bringing people to the game with you. It doesn’t even matter if you like each other, a minimum of 4 people gets you a free parking pass.
7) Friendly players and Field staff
If you get here early enough, you can get something most fans in parks around this countr can not get before a baseball game. No, I am not talking about a Batting Practice ball, but you are close. This is one of the stadiums in this league where the players actually like to sign for the fans. Seriously, these guys will come right up to the sidelines and sign balls, bats and baseball cards for the fans. Some teams do not even have players who will do that outside of the team’s events, but this team truly knows it is the fans that matter also in this building. And the players will tell you they look forward to this time to mingle with the fans. Some even hold conversations with you while they are signing your items….imagine that!
8) Real Live animals, and not just in the stands!
When is the last time you went to a Petting Zoo? For most of us it was in our childhood years, or a recent visit to Lowery Park in Tampa. But here at the Trop you can get your small dose of nature and also take in a great baseball game, all for one ticket price. The Rays Tank, a unique live animal attraction that opened in 2006 actually features a 10,000 gallon tank that houses 20 cownose rays that you can feed and touch right up until the 6th inning of any Rays game. Got to admit, it is a really wild feeling to feed one of these gulf dwellers for the first time, and should be on your life “to do” list if you are a Rays fan.
9) People watching is FREE, just like on that park bench
If you are one of those people who get a kick out of watching other people, then this place will be a new mecca for you. I am not talking about stalking a cute girl in the stands, but watching some of the wild antics of people like the Cowbell Kid, who is stationed right under the Jumbotron in Rightfield. And then there are the multiples of people who have specially made signs supporting the Rays and thrust them up at different times during the game. I have to be honest with you, I am a people watcher. I always get a few belly chuckles out of some of the antics of fans during a game.
10) Community Pride is always in attendance
And last, but not least, this is your time to show your civic pride. And this is the most important reason to me to attend a game. This is OUR team. They are not just here during Spring Training like in surrounding communiteis within the Tampa Bay area. This is a professional baseball team that is fighting for a dream. And we should all be there for this historic moment. With the tide turning quickly on the Rays, this is the time to show them that this community has their backs.
Sure, there are going to be people who will tell me that I kind of streamlined all the good things that are around this stadium. And there will be people who will think a diluted the total things possible here before game time, but the true fact is that if you have not been here in awhile, you really need to see this NEW Rays product on the field for yourself. The overall excitement within the confines of this dome are incredible at game time.
And even when teams like Boston and New York do come into the building, for the most part both sets of fans have a mutual respect for each other and there are minumum flare-ups and problems during a game. But this time of the year is the time to truly vome out and show your Rays Republic colors. No Reds, No White, just some sort of shade of blue is totally acceptable and encouraged to drown out the Red and white that the Red Sox Nations bring into Tropicana Field.
Hopefully I have given you a reason to want to attend a game in the Trop before the end of the season. And if you are not a local resident, hopefully I have gotten you to think about a trip to sunny Florida and take in a Rays game, or even a Spring Training game some time in the future. But for the Rays faithful, the time is now. You can not wait until the weekend, you can not wait until the end of the month. This team needs to have fannies in the seats to show the baseball community that this town understands what pennant fever is, and that we have all caught it. Sniff, Sniff, I do seem to be getting a fever, where is my cowbell?