Rays Prepare For Opening Day 2013


OPENING DAY—The Tampa Bay Rays open their 16th season on Tuesday, April 2 against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field…Tampa Bay is 8-7 in season openers…it is the 6th time the Rays have opened the season vs. the Orioles, making the Birds their most frequent Opening Day opponent…Rays are 2-3…it will be the 3rd time in the past four years and the 5th time in Maddon’s eight season openers with the Rays that they have opened against the Orioles…it is the fourth consecutive season the Rays have opened the schedule at home and the 9th time overall…they are 5-3 in the previous games…overall, the Rays are 8-7 in their home openers…it is the fourth time the Rays have hosted the Orioles in their home opener…Rays are 1-2: 2006 (losing 6-3), 2010 (winning 4-3) and 2011 (losing 4-1)…Rays are 3-4 in season openers under Joe Maddon, but have won 2 of their last 3, both wins coming in walk-off fashion after trailing entering the 9th.

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.

TROP SECOND TOUGHEST ON VISITING TEAMS — Over the past five seasons, the Rays are 251-154 (.620) at home…the only place tougher to play over the past five years is Yankee Stadium (see chart)…over the last five seasons, the Rays are 45-15 when playing in front of home crowds of 30,000 or more during the regular season.

EARLY GOING — While the Rays open the season with a 6-game homestand (three each with Baltimore and Cleveland), they play 20 of their next 26 away from Tropicana Field…Rays first two road trips of the season are 10-game trips, matching their longest of the season…15 of their first 22 games are against teams that went to the postseason in 2012.

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 (March 31 to April 2) will honor the lives lost on December 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. Major League Baseball, 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.

Source: Tampa Bay Rays Media