My First Rays Game-A Playoff Game to Boot!

Tropicana Field
Tropicana Field-No I’m not leaning, the Trop is designed that way.

We won the lottery. No, not Powerball, the Rays’ Ticket Lottery. For the first time ever, Baseball Ross and I entered a playoff ticket lottery and won.

I guess you’d say the Rays are my second team. The Phillies, even as maddening as they can be, are still my favorite team. However, now that we live in Clearwater, I must admit that I kinda like my now home town team.

We had heard horror stories from friends about how hard it is go get to the Trop, how horrible parking is. Just horror story after horror story about how difficult everything is when it comes to going to see a game at the Trop.

So we planned ahead. We got maps of approved parking lots and when we could, bought parking passes ahead of time and we decided to leave hours early.

It worked out. For the first game, we didn’t get a parking pass due to a “burp” with the ticket buying site. We left for St. Pete early and followed suggestions by a neighbor on how to find parking and….it worked.

A local sports bar, Ferg’s which is across the street from the Trop had a big party and we headed there after parking.

Ferg’s is your average sports bar, average food but they do provide a place to hang out before a game and have a really cool outdoor area complete with TVs, which is where we hung out.

Hanging out at Ferg's
Hanging out at Ferg’s

Another cool thing is that if you walk the walkway/underpass from Ferg’s to the Trop, there are home bases embedded in the sidewalk outlining major events in St. Pete baseball history. Like this one:


Since it was our first game, we splurged and went with some pricy tickets that had food included. We got to eat in the “Bank America Club” and even had waitress service at our seats! That was pretty cool.

Bank America Club
Bank America Club

We also spent a lot of time exploring. The Trop is now home to the Ted Williams’ Hitters Hall of Fame.

They had some really interesting displays there. I think you might recognize this guy:

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We also paid a visit to the Ray Tank. Personally, one of my favorite features! I LOVE to pet rays. For some reason they just fascinate me.

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In fact, the Rays’ game winning home run that night went into the tank right about where the left side of the picture is.

The only real downside to this visit was our sight lines.

Sight Lines from My Seat
Sight Lines from My Seat

There are two bad things about our seats:

1. The incline is not very great so when you get a woman that’s 6 feet tall with 4 inches of teased hair on the top of your head…you won’t see much.

2. I had a WALL in front of me that kept me from seeing the Rays dugout and any fouls that went down the right side.

The best thing was the TV that was on a five second delay so we could see what we missed.

I did sit at the end of the aisle until those people arrived so I could get these pictures:

Rays Manager Joe Maddon is Introduced.

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Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino

Best of all…The RAYS WON!


From “Zero” To Hero in Less than a Week

There’s a lot of things make me wonder about the Phillies. One of them is how some guys just never seem to get a fair shake. Rich Thompson is one of those guys. He’s been in the organization for several years, but has never gotten a chance to play in the major leagues. He played in the major leagues previously with another team but he’s been anguishing in Lehigh Valley since coming to the Phillies.

Thompson is like many other guys in the Phillies farm system, he’s a good player a solid player, and if he played in any other teams organization you have a good shot at making the show. But Thompson doesn’t play in any other organization he played with the Phillies and for some reason the reason I can’t discern he’s never even given a chance to play with the big Philly’s at citizens Bank Park.

Thompson held the record as being the longest I am paid in team history, they even made a big deal last year in the playoffs in saying he was the last “original” IronPig left on the team. But he never got his shot with the Phillies and last week the Phillies dealt him to the Tampa Bay rays.

The Rays didn’t send him “down” they took him right up to the show he went from being stuck in the international league at AAA with the Phillies aans now is playing every day with the Rays. Not only that, tonight his play was crucial to them winning the game.

It was in the 11th inning and the game is tied Constantine to the plate and took one for the team he got hit by pitch. After being hit he took his base then BJ Upton was up, Upton. Smack the ball sending it out into the outfield Thompson who is on first started running as if his life depended on it and it seemed that within seconds he scored to win the game!

He obviously has to speed and ability to play at the major-league level the while of the Phillies let him languish in AAA. I guess only Ruben Amarro knows.

It also makes me wonder how many other guys Mike Thompson have a speed and ability to play at the major-league level and are languishing in the lower levels of the Phillies farm system? Only time will tell. Maybe someday some of these guys will get a chance or maybe they’ll be dealt to other teams and get the big chance.

What I’m afraid of its we have players that are currently playing for the Phillies that are not playing up to their ability or are injured and not able to play as good as they can. What I think is happening is that there’s good players, quality players who could fill in but instead they are left languishing in the farm system. The same guys get traded and go on to have productive careers with other teams.

But what do I know? I’m not a “professional”. But I do know is I hate seeing guys that are talented like Thompson getting stuck in a holding pattern just because of someone else’s opinion of them and because they just weren’t given a chance.

I’m really happy for Rich Thompson. He owns a home in the Tampa area so he’s playing for his home team and what could be better for him? I wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him play at the Trop.

Iron Pigs Rich Thompson TRADED!

The Phillies traded Iron Pig Rich Thompson to Tampa for Outfielder Kyle Hudson.

This is now being reported by multiple sources.

I say welcome to Kyle and a thank you to Rich. I believe Rich was the last original Iron Pig. I wish Rich all
The best in his figure endeavors.

UPDATE: Rich Thompson will be playing with the TAMPA BAY RAYS! He’s going back to the big league! Thompson also has a home in the area so I am sure that he and his family are thrilled! Congratulations Rich!