Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
How much do you love this game of baseball? Can you imagine someone telling you that you are not allowed to attend your favorite team’s home games? Would you then imagine concocting a devious scheme, or even a blatant show of defiance in showing up to a game after you have been warned you might be prosecuted? Well, the following post will bring up just that baseball issue, and will follow a recent event where a Tampa Bay Rays fan decided his fulfillment of his baseball “Jones” was more important than something like a Florida Statute. This story is totally real, and can be easily verified by his arrest report on the Pinellas County Sherriff’s website.
I decided to omit his whole name, the names of any involved Rays game day staffers/security for the sake of hoping that this instant dose of reality might swing his life into a better direction. Also the plain fact that he is under 21 years of age and might still have a chance to see the errors of his ways deems that I try and give the guy a fighting chance to redeem himself outside of Tropicana Field. But the post is being left today to show other people that you do not have to step upon the actual green Field Turf of Tropicana Field to receive a Trespassing warning, or be detained and transported to the Pinellas County Jail complex.
If you violate this action. Florida Statute 8.10.08 (2) (A) is classified as a Misdemeanor in the Second Degree, but it can be a very costly mistake if taken lightly. The Florida State guidelines show that you can net a personal cot in a State Corrections facility for a period not to exceed 60 days. If attending a Rays game after such a possibility of incarceration is to your liking, you might have more problems than just “Rays fever”. Compound on top of this the obvious fact that you might have to expose this childish action in future job interviews or applications for a governmental job, and you see that a lone chance at snubbing your nose at ” the establishment” might net you a ton of lifetime regret and embarrassment.
During the recent Rays versus Red Sox series, a known past violator of some of the Rays fans rules had somehow gotten past the first point of entry into Tropicana Field. This can easily happen as game day employees, such as Rays Fan Hosts, might not be informed or given photos of every culprit or law breaker who has been escorted from the property. And when the violator enters Tropicana Field, he was using a “Gene Wilder” type curly haired wig which instantly might have made it more difficult to get an accurate facial recognition.
You might ask why he was even first given a Trespass warning, and why would someone even take a chance on discovery when you knew the next time you would leave Tropicana Field would be in handcuffs, and in a St. Petersburg Police squad car. Let’s take a small step backwards and see why our dastardly criminal was even wearing a disguise, hoping to go unnoticed within the seating bowl.
He was first detained by Rays security and escorted out of Tropicana Field about a month ago when he was found to have jumped a railing just above the “100’s” sections of Tropicana Field and entered the exclusive Whitney Bank Club for a short evening of enjoying some beverages and free buffet. His first bad move was being in a restricted club within Tropicana Field. His second, and most costly error was he was under 21 years of age and doing another criminal act at the time.
That ill-advised action got him only a 1-year ban from Tropicana Field and early exit from the game. You would think a rational person might take their punishment and do his 1-year without incident, then get a realistic chance to revel with other Rays fans again in 2011. But we forget we are talking about a young man ( under 21) who might think he is still above the law, and thinks he is smarter than the average bear ( sorry for the Yogi Bear logic).
Our accused on that evening decided to mosey on down towards the Visiting dugout during a recent Rays game and try and hide within the frenzied actions that happen during Red Sox series. But he was instantly discovered by a Rays Season Ticket holder, who knew of his expulsion. But he also called unneeded attention to himself by his odd-fitting wig and his nervous chatter and constant glances to see if he might be discovered. The Rays Season Ticket holder asked one of the Rays Beer Vendor to go to a Rays Fan Host, who quickly assessed the situation and followed procedures and contacted a Rays security supervisor.
As his whole discovery quickly unfolding, the young man began to notice his impending doom and tried to make a hasty escape from the Trop from Section 119 towards the outer doors of the Trop. He quickly dodged numerous Rays and Red Sox fans entering the Trop seating bowl and swiftly made his way to an exit near the Mountain Dew Extreme Zone near the Northwest corner of Tropicana Field. There he instantly discovered he was being tailed by a onrushing Rays security member and quickly made a hasty mistake move and went towards the Gate 6 outer doors and his ” alleged” run for freedom.
During his quick movement through Tropicana Field, he had created a Rays security buzz. As our tall, purple-shirted violator exited the Gate 6 doors, he immediately got the attention of other Rays security personnel who were working the bag check table at that location and his planned escape route instantly blew up in front of him. He tried another ill-advised effort to escape his pending doom, but was tackled and went down in a flurry near the Gate 6 barriers.
It was soon found out via verification through his Florida Driver’s License that he was indeed given a verbal trespass warning and his new punishment awaited him. His efforts to try and pull the wool over the Rays game day staff’s eyes was met with a set of handcuffs and a free ride to the Pinellas County Jail complex. He subsequently was booked in at 9:26 pm that evening, while the Rays and the Red Sox were still fighting it out on the Trop’s field. He spent the night within the confines of the local jail and was released on his own recognizance at 12;28 pm the following day. But along with a pending court appearance and plea, he is also now facing a LIFETIME ban from attending ANY function at Tropicana Field.
I did not post this to show just the plight of one person. It was posted to show that violating the rules at a professional sporting event can have lasting effects, and are not worth testing even in jest. You do not have to step upon the Rays Field Turf, or run around the infield/outfield to get extreme punishments enforced upon you.
If you follow the basic and reasonable fan ground rules set forth for all of us to enjoy our Rays experience, this would have never materialized for this young man. Instead, he will have to tell his son or daughter 10-15 years from now why he can not take them to a Rays game. And again, the blunt stupidity of his youthful deception will live on.
If he had just waited his time out, maybe spending the rest of the 2010 season watching on television, not tried to violate his trespass warning by venturing inside Tropicana Field.
He might have relived his joy of baseball next season. Instead now he will have the obvious punishment of knowing if the Rays venture into the Playoffs, and get to a World Series again, he will not be able to see it firsthand EVER ….The closest he might get to hearing the cheers and roar of the crowd might be on a barstool at Ferg’s…far away from the game he loved. In closing I really want to know…. “So was it really worth it?”
The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.