An aerial view of Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL - The Tampa Bay Rays open their 16th season against the Baltimore Orioles today at 3:10 p.m. Tampa Bay is 8-7 in season openers and this will be the 6th time the Rays have opened the season vs. Baltimore, making the O's their most frequent Opening Day opponent.
OPENING DAY TICKETS-Tickets to the opener are available in a handful of sections at Tropicana Field. The team expects its eighth consecutive Opening Day sellout. Tickets are available at all regular Rays outlets including raysbaseball.com and raysbeisbol.com, the Tropicana Field Box Office, the Rays Tampa Office located at 400 N. Tampa Street, all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster phone, or by calling 1-888-FAN-RAYS.
ROTATION FINALIZED-On Friday the Rays announced their starting rotation to begin the 2013 season, in the following order: LH David Price, RH Jeremy Hellickson, RH Roberto Hernandez, LH Matt Moore and RH Alex Cobb. When Hernandez starts on Thursday, it will be the first time the Rays have used a free agent acquisition to start a game since July 15, 2005, when minor league free agent signee Hideo Nomo started in Toronto. It will be the first time the Rays started a major league free agent pitcher in more than 10 years.
Click here for the Tampa Bay Rays Active Roster
MLB OPENERS WILL HONOR THE VICTIMS OF SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY-Major League Baseball will honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during the opening games of the 2013 regular season. All players, managers, coaches, umpires and on-field personnel will wear a symbolic ribbon patch and opening games will honor the lives lost on Dec 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. The patch features the official seal of Newtown, along with a black memorial ribbon and 26 stars, signifying one for every victim, lining each side of the patch. Additionally, MLB.com will auction an authenticated jersey signed by all players and coaches Opening Day roster, with all proceeds benefitting the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. MLB, MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network encourage fans to donate to that fund by texting NEWTOWN to 80888.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH-Rays Senior Advisor Don Zimmer will be joined by his family-wife Soot, son Tom, daughter-in-law Marian and grandsons Bo and Ron-to deliver the ceremonial first pitch. The 82-year-old Zimmer is entering his 65th season in professional baseball. This will be his 54th major league opening day. This is also his 10th season with the Rays, equaling his most years with one major league club. Don has been a major league coach, manager or advisor every year since 1971. During his career, he has worn the uniform of 14 major league teams. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and broke into the major leagues as an infielder in 1954. His major league playing career spanned 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Reds and Senators. During his playing career, Zim hit two Opening Day home runs, both coming off future Hall of Famers: 1957 for the Dodgers off PHI Robin Roberts and 1960 for the Cubs off LAD Don Drysdale.
NATIONAL ANTHEM-Tampa Bay-area saxophonist B.K. Jackson will perform the national anthem. The 21-year-old Tampa native is currently taking time off from his studies at Florida A&M University to perform with Prince. Jackson performed the anthem at the Rays home openers in 2009, 2011 and 2012, at Game 1 of the 2008 American League Division Series, all four games of the 2008 American League Championship Series and before Game 3 of the 2011 American League Division Series.
THE COLORS-Will be presented by the US CENTCOM Joint Service Color Guard.
CLYDESDALES-Fans can catch a glimpse of the Budweiser Clydesdales on Opening Day outside Gate 1 from 1-2 p.m., then from 2-3 p.m. the Clydesdales will be outside Gate 4 while fans can sample Budweiser products from the wagon.
GATES OPEN-At the home opener, Tropicana Field gates will open at 12:10 p.m. and parking lots at 11 a.m. for those wishing to start their tailgating early...during the remainder of the season, gates will open 2 hours before game time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday home games and 1½ hours prior Monday through Thursday at all gates.
PARKING-For the seventh consecutive year, the Rays will continue to provide carpoolers access to free parking in team-controlled lots. Vehicles with 4 or more people park for free on all Sunday games in Lots 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9. For all other games, the first 100 cars with four or more will park for free up to an hour before game time, with Tropicana Field parking rates ranging from $15 to $30 per vehicle. All parking is subject to availability.
Click here for more parking info
FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE-For the opener, a free Baseball Shuttle will pick up passengers on Second Street mid-block between Central Avenue and 1st Avenue South (under the Bank of America Tower's pedestrian bridge) and drop passengers off on 16th Street South near Gate 4 at Tropicana Field. The Baseball Shuttle operates from 90 minutes before game time, throughout the game, until one hour after the game is over. Please visit loopertrolley.com for up-to-date information.
BRING YOUR OWN-The Rays continue to be one of the only major pro sports teams to allow fans to bring food and select beverages to games.
PLAYERS AT GATES-Keeping with a Tropicana Field tradition, Rays players will greet fans for the first few minutes when gates open at 12:10 p.m.
NEW FOOD FOR FANS-Among the new concession items are fried dough with fruit toppings, beignets, hand-carved turkey sandwiches, and an all-natural stand in Centerfield Street featuring all-natural hot dogs and chicken fingers and Blue Diamond flavored almonds.
Click here for more information on the new gameday grub