RAYS MARK OPENING DAY 2015 WITH SELLOUT CROWD, NEW SKIPPER
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 6, 2015) – The Tampa Bay Rays get the 2015 regular season underway in front of a sellout crowd later today, April 6, when they take on the Baltimore Orioles at 3:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Today’s game marks the 10th consecutive season the Rays have sold out the home opener and the sixth straight year the team has opened the season at home. Tickets are still available for the two remaining games with Baltimore tomorrow and Wednesday, April 7 and 8, at 888-FAN-RAYS or www.raysbaseball.com.
Today’s game marks the debut of first-year manager Kevin Cash, the youngest manager in Rays history and one of six new managers in major league baseball this season.
During pre-game ceremonies, the Rays will honor the team’s senior advisor Don Zimmer by retiring his No. 66 jersey, the first No. 66 retired in major league history and believed to be the second-highest number ever retired behind Carlton Fisk. Zimmer’s jersey will join two other retired Rays numbers above left center field – Wade Boggs’ No. 12 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.
Following this week’s home stand, the Rays go on the road with games in Miami and Toronto before returning home April 17-19 to face the New York Yankees.
Get There Early: Baseball fans will find more than enough parking for Rays games at Tropicana Field, on surface lots within a half-mile walk of the stadium, and downtown via the free baseball shuttle. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to games and visit St. Petersburg’s downtown dining and retail district before catching a ride on the free shuttle to Tropicana Field.
Recommended downtown parking for all regular season games is available in the South Core garage, located at 100 First Ave. S., with entrance between First and Second Sts., or in the Sundial garage, accessible from Second St. N., between First and Second Aves. N. If the South Core garage fills to capacity due to the weekday Opening Day game, baseball fans will be directed to park in the Sundial garage.
On Opening Day, free baseball shuttles will begin service at 1:10 p.m. until one hour following the game with stops every five minutes. Starting Tuesday, April 7, and for the remainder of the 2015 Rays home season, free baseball shuttles offer service to fans beginning 90 minutes prior to each game, ending one hour after the final inning or scheduled post-game concert. Regular season game shuttles run approximately every 10-15 minutes.
The free baseball shuttle pick-up and drop-off locations are on Second St. South between Central Ave. and First Ave. S. under the pedestrian bridge immediately next to South Core parking garage. Fans may also arrive and depart Tropicana Field from a stop on 16th St. just south of Third Ave. S. Shuttles with disability accommodations, including vehicles with wheelchair lifts, will be utilized at every game. Additional information and a route map are available at www.stpetetrolley.com/Events.html.
On-site Parking: Go green and save some green by carpooling! The first 100 vehicles Monday through Friday (no limit on Sunday games)with four or more fans park free in Tropicana Field’s main parking lots (Lots 6 and 7) up to an hour prior to the start of all Rays home games. On Sundays, vehicles with four or more passengers may park free in Lots 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Vehicles with fewer than four passengers should expect to pay $15-$30 to park in the stadium’s main lots. Rays season ticketholders who would like discounted and/or reserved parking can get information at 888-FAN-RAYS. For more information about on-site parking, please visit http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/tb/ballpark/parking_directions.jsp.
Parking Around Tropicana Field: There are more than 70 licensed surface parking areas around the ballpark, with more than enough spaces to accommodate heavily attended games. These lots are clearly marked with signage featuring a capital “P,” lot number, and city ordinance information, and are staffed by a uniformed attendant. These are the only approved parking areas for those parking outside of Tropicana Field, but still within the half-mile radius. Designated signage and additional information about baseball parking is available at www.stpete.org/baseballparking.
Beware of Where You Park: Fans should park only in approved lots, which are marked with a blue “P” and posted lot number, either on-site Tropicana Field lots, in one of the more than 70 approved parking areas around the stadium, or in one of the downtown waterfront parking facilities. Fans are cautioned against parking in unlicensed, unattended or vacant lots where approved signage is not visible, as vehicles may be towed or ticketed. Legitimate parking attendants should be in uniform and will provide a receipt/ticket upon payment. If the lot or the attendant/cashier does not look legitimate or cannot provide a receipt, fans are advised to find an alternate parking location.
Use Alternate Travel Routes: Traffic officials suggest baseball fans consider using these alternate routes to avoid potential issues during high traffic periods, such as within an hour and a half of the first pitch for sellout or near sellout games: Fourth St. from the north or 16th St.and Fifth Ave. S. from the south. Southbound I-275 traffic may exit early at 54th, 38th, or 22nd Avenues N., travel east to 4th St., and approach the ballpark from the east. Northbound traffic on I-275 can exit early on 31st St. to 5th Ave. S. and approach from the west side of the ballpark to avoid traffic tie-ups.