Florida Guide > Other Activities
Tampa Bay Rays at the Tropicana Field, Tampa
As a treat for the whole family, we booked tickets online to see the Tampa Bay Rays versus New York Yankees Baseball game at Easter this year. The first two home games of the season happily coincided with our trip to Florida. The first game was a sell-out but we managed to get 4 tickets to the second game. Prices varied – from $16 a seat for a ‘Prime Game’ upper deck infield seat (which we opted for) to $100s of dollars for baseline seats. The added bonus was that all ticket holders would receive a souvenir replica ring each.
The day of the match arrived, and the plan was to spend the day at the beach and make our way to the stadium for the match, which started at around 7pm. However, that day was the first and only day of our holiday with heavy rain and overcast skies, so we revised our plans and set off later in the afternoon, giving ourselves a good three hours to travel the hour and a half journey.
This was our first live baseball game and we didn’t know what to expect – and we needed all of the three hours to get there! We managed to park up in one of the dubious parking spots which appeared when the official car parks were full, but at least we got there 10 minutes before play started. However – we forgot about the queues to get in! As the game was another sell out, (seating capacity is just under 37, 000! ) queues to get in snaked around the stadium and we doubted we would get in before the start. Luckily, the back part of the huge queue we joined suddenly started heading for some closed gates – they had opened more gates to cope with the numbers, and we managed to get in, collect our rings and find our seats with seconds to spare. The Tropicana Field is a covered stadium so luckily it didn’t matter what the weather was like outside.
Even though we were on the upper deck, the view was great - and the atmosphere was brilliant. Our two boys knew the rules to baseball (and I eventually caught on to what was happening! ) and we had running commentary from the locals around us – which was very enlightening! There are 9 innings per team, so there was plenty of time to understand how the game is played, and big screens constantly displayed details and photos of the players, interspersed with live action. A huge scoreboard also kept you up to date with the action.
There were a good number of Yankees fans in the stadium, so the atmosphere was electric – and the Yankees took an early lead, so whenever the Rays looked like scoring a run the noise was deafening in the stadium (with prompts from the boards encouraging people to ‘make some noise’ and ringing their cowbells). Every few innings, the teams would take a break and there would be some entertainment for the waiting crowds, which kept everyone amused and gave people time to get refreshments, etc without missing any of the game.
After going 4-0 down, Rays managed to get two runs back, but eventually lost 7-2, however the home crowds didn’t seem to mind too much.
Our boys loved everything about the experience, the game, the atmosphere, the friendliness of the people, even the food (foot-long hot dogs for them) and we have already booked our next match during our August Florida holiday! Our son Josh has asked for a Rays Shirt for his birthday in July to wear to the game. Next time though, we will get there with plenty of time to spare to check out the numerous different activities available in and around the Field prior to the Game and to soak up the pre-game atmosphere.
As a bonus, the ‘bling ring’ that we all received, is a solid metal ‘collectible’ ring – our Josh wore his ring constantly after the match and a number of Americans commented on it – he loved the attention he received. The ring commemorated the fact that the Rays won the ALC Championship last season.
There are a number of ‘promotional’ games during the season, where souvenirs are given away to fans so check the official website for details.
It was a good and memorable night and we would definitely recommend taking in a Game – it is good clean family fun at a reasonable price.
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