HomeTeamsRays2024 Rays Fanfest

2024 Rays Fanfest

The rain had no effect on today’s festivities at this year’s Fanfest. Baseball fans from all over the Tampa Bay area flooded Tropicana Field as if it was a playoff game. Tickets to attend were free but attendees were required to request tickets via the team’s website to track attendance numbers.

The well-organized event did not have a shortage of activities for fans of any age. Once I arrived at the ballpark, I was handed a map of all the activities. The foyer was full of fans and greeting staff as we entered. A DJ was playing while a performer on stilts was being photographed with children.

Everything took place on the field. Fans were able to enter the field through the centerfield gate. Activities were scattered around the field. A sale on outdated merchandise was in right field, children’s activities were in left field, and a small stage was placed on the pitcher’s mound. Local radio stations and other organizations from the area seeking support set up information booths throughout the rest of the field. Additionally, tours of the dugout and locker room were conducted, and players (past and present) were available for autographs.

The stage was used for your typical question and answer sessions. Various silly interviews were done to bring laughter and show the lighter side of the players. However, there were two question and answer sessions that were informative. The first one involved executives Brian Auld and Matt Silverman. They provided updates on the Ray’s new ballpark. Currently, all the required documents and permits have been submitted to the proper city council office. A response is expected in two to three months. This new ballpark will be the home for the Rays for the next 30 years. An excited Mayor Ken Welch (Mayor of St Petersburg) was in attendance and validated this information.

The future home of the Rays will remain in St Petersburg and will be in the same general location as Tropicana Field. Tropicana Field has the uniqueness of being the only team in the MLB to have a true dome. The other domed ballparks have retractable roofs. This new ballpark will be domed as well. A need for a dome over the ballpark monopolized the conversation and the advantages outweighed the drawbacks.The new place is projected to seat 28,000-29,000 fans and up to 35,000 standing room space. This unnamed stadium will have a tank of stingrays and is projected to be ready for baseball on Opening Day 2028.

The second informative question and answer session had head coach Kevin Cash, President of Baseball Operations Erik Neander, and pitching coach Kyle Snyder. General topics regarding the overall team status were discussed. Cash said he was excited about the team’s young players. Neander examined what steps were taken over the offseason to keep the Rays competitive. Finally, at the end of the discussion, Andy Freed (Rays radio voice) asked each panel member what must occur for the team to be successful for this upcoming season. Snyder replied that the pitching staff must remain healthy. Neander said fan support is essential. Cash answered by saying the young players must contribute. Although no game was played, it was obvious that Rays baseball is a sizable portion of the community, and the fans love them. Time to Rays up!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here