The Rays have recently introduced a $9 standing room ticket for students, and we noticed they also launched a Friday night $5 drinks promotion last week.
We are all for creative ways to get people to the stadium to watch the 2022 Rays. These Rays are certainly a team worth watching. Despite injuries that have devastated their lineup, their rotation, and their bullpen, they head into the All-Star break ten games above .500, in the top Wild Card position.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but this year still has the magic of Rays baseball. Yes, we’ve seen perhaps unanticipated offensive spark from the likes of Isaac Paredes and Harold Ramirez, but others have disappointed at the plate. We know we have some of the league’s top defensive players but we have all witnessed too many bobbles to call this a good defensive team. We often enjoy their aggression on the base paths, and they have some players with excellent speed, but how often have rallies been killed with baserunning blunders?
We’ve seen winning streaks and losing streaks, the elation of five walk-off wins and the crushing disappointment of six walk-off losses.
This team is perhaps different from what we expected to see in 2022, but it has its unique charms. Why not double down on some of the team’s special qualities in crafting appealing special deals? We’ve come up with a few suggestions.
Rays marketing people — you’re welcome!
Forgot what Nick Anderson looks like? Check out this “Players of the IL” calendar
The Rays have been very unlucky in the injury department, with a number of key players out, many for extended stints. Even with the recent return of Brandon Lowe and Pete Fairbanks, there are still some fifteen players on the IL. (Oops, Harold Ramirez was hit by a pitch and broke his thumb as I was writing this. Make that sixteen) So this year, on “salute to health care workers” day, the Rays will distribute their first ever “Players of the IL” calendar. This 2022-23 special edition calendar will feature one or two players for each month. Yes, you can get Kevin Kiermaier’s green eyes, Taylor Glasnow’s eighty-grade hair, and Wander Franco’s engaging smile — not on the field, of course, but in this collector’s item, photo-filled calendar. The earliest day that each player could return to the field is marked with a gold star.
Bullpen making you anxious? Drinks are on us
With so many of the Rays A-list relievers on the IL, we’ve seen the Durham shuttle in full operation. We thought we’d be watching Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks and JP Feyereisen; instead it’s been Calvin Faucher and Ralph Garza. Results have not been terrible by most measures — the weekend before the All-Star break the Rays bullpen is 7th best in ERA, but 19th best in WAR and 20th in xFIP. Still, fans have seen enough blown leads to feel something less than confidence when the team gets into its B-list bullpen.
We’d suggest the team lean into that with some good drinks promotions. We know the Rays have access to some sophisticated dynamic pricing software. In this promotion, the worse the relief pitcher, the cheaper the beer. The Rays will create an algorithm where beer prices are the inverse of the wOBA of the reliever. Or make it simple: if Shawn Armstrong or Ralph Garza is protecting a one-run lead? Half price on all beverages.
This way, at least some fans will be rooting to see that least effective reliever. Or if not, at least some of the anxiety of that bases loaded situation will be numbed by the alcohol.
Of course we don’t want fans to overindulge, so you won’t get a second round unless you can say “Shane McClanahan” three times fast.
Half our line-up is below the #CashLine? Try some ice cream therapy
With Brandon Lowe, Wander Franco and Manuel Margot out for extended periods of time, we’ve seen some low-performing Rays lineups. Sure, most teams will have a number nine hitter who doesn’t contribute much, but the Rays lineup can look pretty thin anywhere from the six spot on. Baseball has long used the term “Mendoza line” to refer to a .200 batting average, with the weakest hitters falling below that mark. But Darby Robinson has noted that a batting-average dependent metric doesn’t suit our stats-rich age, and created the #CashLine, using Kevin Cash’s career hitting stats, for a more nuanced perspective on bad hitting.
Those below #CashLine hitters — we won’t name names here but you can find them in every Rays lineup — ensure that big innings will be hard to come by. It can be frustrating seeing runners stranded on base nearly every time the Rays get deep into the lineup but you know what can help?
Ice cream. Three pitch strikeouts and foul pop-ups sting less with ice cream.
During this special promotion, fans 14 and under will get a free helmet of soft-serve ice cream for every starter hitting below the #Cash Line.
Runners getting picked off base? How about some free parking?
There are a number of fast, and aggressive, base runners on the Rays, players who will stretch that single to a double. When it works, nothing is more exciting. When they get thrown out trying, it can be frustrating. And when they get picked off standing a few feet from the base, or stranded in no-man’s-land, well, that’s when the blood pressure rises. The Rays have a 71% stolen base percentage (below league average) and have been picked off six times, also below average. Randy Arozarena alone has been caught stealing seven times and thrown out on the bases
eight nine times this season.
But if the Rays players are getting penalized for failing to safely park themselves on the appropriate base, at least fans can reap some benefit. In this special promotion, the Rays offer a voucher for free parking to all fans with a drivers license every time a player gets picked off a base.
And speaking of Randy....
A very special promotion in honor of the man who is never out
Randy Arozarena is a player who makes things happen. When he’s on a hot streak, he hits to all fields while belting some dingers. When he’s really on fire, he steals home and thumps his chest. And of course, in his mind at least, he is never out on the basepaths.
What most of us would give for that level of confidence, or at least that amount of chutzpah! The Rays can’t do an actual confidence give-away, but what about liquid confidence, or put another way liquid courage?
Fortunately, we found a body wash called “liquid courage” — and on Randy Arozarena day every adult fan can take some home. Yes, on Randy Arozarena day each fan 18 and over will get a sample bottle of “liquid courage” which brags that you’ll “leave the shower ready for whatever awaits you”. Splash some on and you, too, will have Randy’s confidence.
Would any of these promotions draw you to Tropicana Field? What other 2022 Rays deals do you think would do justice to this team?