This rivalry can be traced back to the 2000 season when a Rays player (Gerald Williams) was hit by Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and Williams charged the mound, resulting in multiple ejections of both teams’ players. There has been a great deal of animosity between the two teams ever since, including numerous bench-clearing fights. Things heightened, even more, when the Rays won their first pennant against the Red Sox in 2008. Because of their history together, this match up makes for some of the most exciting games in regular season, so don’t miss it when the Red Sox come to town.
The Yankees have held Spring Training in Tampa for years, and Tampa is the home of their Advanced-A affiliate, the Tampa Yankees. As a result baseball fans in the Tampa Bay area are divided primarily between the Rays and Yankees creating an intense atmosphere when these two meet at the Trop.
Citrus Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins has been going strong since 1998. While the Marlins and Rays interleague rivalry may not be as fierce as some of the other intracity and intrastate rivalries, you’ll still have a good time attending a Rays-Marlins game.
Rays Tailgate Guide
Tailgating at Tropicana Field is a pretty low-key, family friendly experience. Some fans come closer to game time while others will hang out for batting practice, or wander over to Ferg’s for a little bit (or a lot!) of partying before game time. If you want to tailgate at the stadium, you can do so in the lots on the east side of the stadium. There should be plenty of room for you to park and toss out a small grill and a cooler with a table and a few chairs.
The majority of the fans head into downtown St. Petersburg which is only about 2 miles from the stadium. There you will find all of the most popular sports bars and restaurants which can be found on our bars and restaurant guide as well.
Right across from the Trop is Ferg’s, a massive, multi-level bar that lots of Rays fans frequent before the games. Superfans come in droves, ready to party and celebrate game day with other fans and locals so if you want to get rowdy before the game, Ferg’s is where you need to be.
If you’re from a colder climate take some time to see the palm trees outside the stadium.
Where to tailgate
Lot 6 and other Stadium LotsIt’s fairly common for fans to tailgate in the lots surrounding Tropicana Field, especially Lot 6. Rays fans break out the coolers and grills to put on a fun pregame party, so stop by and join in the fun.
Ferg’sRight across from the Trop is Ferg’s, a massive, multi-level bar that lots of Rays fans frequent before the games. Superfans come in droves, ready to party and celebrate game day with other fans and locals so if you want to get rowdy before the game, Ferg’s is where you need to be.
St. PetersburgMany fans take advantage of the free shuttle that runs between Tropicana Field and St. Petersburg, an area filled with restaurants and bars ideal for tailgating. St. Petersburg is about two miles away from the field, and the shuttle service runs every ten minutes, starting about an hour and a half before the first pitch.
Rays Stadium Guide
Tropicana Field is the last fixed dome stadium left in Major League Baseball, but it comes with its advantages, the biggest being the stadium is completely air conditioned. You can sit back and enjoy the game without worrying about sunburn, your legs sticking to the seats, burning your hand on a railing, or the glare of the sun interrupting your view of the game.
One of the most unique features about a Rays game is the presence of actual Stingrays. During the 2006 season, the outfield was redone to include a 10,000-gallon saltwater fish tank full of Stingrays. Fans love the attraction as it turns a day at the ballpark into an afternoon at the aquarium as well.
There is always something going on at the games; ranging from usher dance offs, cats as DJ’s and conga lines that form on the field, the entertainment at Tropicana Field is neverending. If that isn’t enough, after a Friday night game there is a dance party on the field, and with a guest, DJ brought in to supply the beats.
In right-center field over the fence is the Rays Touch Tank, a 35-foot, ten-gallon tank filled with rays that fans are allowed to see and interact with. The tank also serves as a charitable enterprise; for every ball hit into the tank by a Rays player, the Rays franchise will donate $5,000 to charity.
The Ted Williams Museum was moved to Tropicana Field in 2006 and is home to exhibits honoring the legendary Williams’ career with not only the Boston Red Sox but also the United States Marine Corp. The museum and Hitters Hall of Fame also features a ton of authentic baseball memorabilia, a Pitching Wall of Great Achievement, and a Negro League wing as well as rotating exhibits featuring mementos from the Tampa Bay Rays and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from the 1950’s.
The Cuesta-Bay Cigar Bar is the only place you’re allowed smoke inside Tropicana Field. The Cuesta-Bay Cigar Bar offers a large selection of cigars, many of which are locally made so stop by and check it out.
There are three specially marked seats inside Tropicana Field, commemorating special moments in Tampa Bay history. The gold seat in section 148, marks the spot of the first home run in franchise history hit by Wade Boggs; another gold seat in section 144 that marks where Boggs’ 3,000th hit landed; and a white seat in section 140 that marks where Dan Johnson’s game-tying home run landed during Game 162 (clinched the AL Wild Card) in the 2011 season. Fun fact: Johnson’s ball struck a fan, well, in the Johnson.
Whenever the Tampa Bay Devil Rays need a rally, DJ Kitty is on the job. Decked out in Rays gear, DJ Kitty and his turntable appear on the large video screen while music is blasted through the P.A. system, firing up fans and the players alike.
Inspired by Will Ferrell's iconic “More Cowbell” skit on Saturday Night Live, this tradition has been a big part of home games at Tropicana Field. The Rays host “Cowbell Night” once a year in which they give out free cowbells, but they can also be bought year-round inside the stadium. Fans use the cowbells when an opposing batter has two strikes, when the opposing fans try to chant, and when the Rays make a good play.
The Tampa Bay Rays hold this promotional event every season and has turned into a great tradition for the Rays. Since 2006, the Rays and their opponent wear throwback uniforms for this retro-themed game. Because the Rays don’t have as extensive of a franchise history to choose uniforms from, they often wear historic uniforms of other local teams. In recent years, the Rays have worn “faux-back” uniforms - designed to look like what the Rays uniforms might have looked like during certain time periods.
Red Mesa Mercado brings to St Pete the urban drive-by dining style unique to the streets of Southern California and Mexico – places where secret recipes rich with flavors and the freshest ingredients get served up quick in a no-nonsense, take-out style.