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Tropicana Field: Red Sox at Rays

16 September 2008 No Comment

This past weekend, Nicole and I traveled to Florida to visit her family. Both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were home while we were there. With Tampa about a 90 minute drive from her family’s home, I chose to attend only one game rather than drive down to Tampa twice. Thus, I had a decision to make. Under my guidelines of prioritizing which game to attend, I would normally choose to attend a NFL game over a MLB game – the main reason being that there are only 8 home games for the Buccaneers vs. 81 home games for the Rays. The Rays will most likely be home the next time we are in Florida.

However, since I had attended the Buccaneers home playoff game vs. the Giants last January and had not attended a Rays game since June 1, 2000 (not to mention the Rays were playing the Red Sox in a 1st / 2nd place AL East matchup), I chose to attend the Rays game last night.

I arrived in St. Petersburg a few minutes before 7 pm. The Tropicana Field parking lots were full so I parked in a strip mall parking lot for $15.

Obtaining Tickets
There were quite a few scalpers and fans that had extra tickets. One fan approached me and wanted $20 for his ticket. I only wanted to pay $10 which he accepted (face value was $19). If I had been more aggressive, I may have been able to find a free ticket. There were more and more fans with extra tickets as I got closer to the box office. I broke my first ticket buying rule – never buy from the first person with extra tickets.

The Game
The Red Sox started the game by hitting two home runs in the 1st inning and never looked back. They beat the Rays 13-5. There were quite a few milestones in last night’s game:

1) For the first time since August 3, 2003, the Red Sox hit six home runs in a game.
2) The home run hit by Jason Bay never actually made it over the fence. It hit the third catwalk and never came down, which by Tropicana Field ground rules is considered a home run. According to Wikipedia, it is speculated that this was the first time a ball in play has struck the C ring catwalk.
3) Daisuke Matsuzaka set the record for most wins by a Japanese pitcher in one season with his 17th win.
4) Matsuzaka also joined Roger Clemens and Boo Ferriss as the only Red Sox pitchers to start a season 17-2.
5) David Ortiz passed Edgar Martinez for 2nd place of all time home runs hit as a designated hitter.
6) Mike Timlin set the all-time record for relief appearances for a right handed pitcher. Last night was his 1,051st relief appearance.
7) Jason Varitek passed Carlton Fisk with his 158th home run as a Red Sox – most all-time for a Red Sox catcher.

Tropicana Field
About halfway through the game, and with the Red Sox leading 12-1, I wandered around the center field area of Tropicana Field. The Rays have almost turned center field into an amusement park with carnival and baseball games for fans to play. In addition, there are two sit-down restaurants; the Center Field Brewhouse and the Batter’s Eye Restaurant. The Rays also have the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar which offers a large selection of cigars to purchase. Next to the Batter’s Eye Restaurant is the Sting Ray Touch Tank where fans can pet sting rays.

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