The Rays will be playing the Rangers in the three-game Wild Card series this week. Because the Rays had the best record among all non-division winners, they have the home field advantage for all three games. That means you have many opportunities to see an actual playoff game in person.
Please allow me a quick rant. If you’ve been a Rays fan for a while you know that the least appealing and accessible start time will always be ours. In this case, there are some time zone issues so that other teams also get 3pm starts in their own area, but the one match up that is entirely EST (Philly v Miami) gets the prime time slot all three nights. You’d think they could mix it up to split the “needing to take time off from work” burden is spread a bit more evenly, but no.
But those of us are lucky to have flexible schedules will be able to attend.
At present to be tickets remaining for all three games. On the Rays website you can still find a lot of upper deck tickets for $55, plus a few scattered tickets in other sections. The re-sale sites also have tickets on offer, in some cases below the Rays asking price. By the way are you looking at the prices and cursing? Me too, but don’t blame the Rays; MLB sets postseason ticket prices.
By car: Most of you will drive to the ballpark. The Rays have a number of lots and standard parking will be $30. The advantage of using the Rays lots is that they are close to the stadium; the disadvantage is the price and the difficulties getting out after the game. And of course we don’t want to turn into the sort of terrible people who leave early just to beat the traffic! So you might want to consider other options. There are a lot of informal lots that pop up around the stadium, and people in the know even say there are some free street spots if you are willing to walk a bit. Most street parking, however, is metered with a two hour limit, so it doesn’t work well for a baseball game.
You can also park downtown, where there are several reasonably priced garages, and take the baseball trolley to the stadium.
Leave your car at home! No, the region has not suddenly sprung a comprehensive transit system, but for some it may be possible to get to the stadium without a car. Of course there are taxis and the various app-based ride hailing companies. And if you live live somewhere on the Pinellas Trail, it is indeed possible to bike to Tropicana Field, and there are bike racks around the stadium (perhaps a silver lining of the early start times is that you can bike there in daylight).
Public transit options are limited but they exist. There is an express bus, the 100X, from the Marion Transit Center in Tampa to Downtown St. Pete but its limited running times could make it difficult to use to after the game.
For those within Pinellas County, there are more options. You can take the 16 from the Gateway Mall (it stops running at around 7pm) or the 18 from Clearwater (which stops running around 10pm). Finally, the Sunrunner connects Downtown St. Pete to St. Pete Beach, with a stop at Tropicana Field, and runs until midnight. (It had been free but as of October 1 it will begin charging a fare of $2.25).
Anyone who has been to a Rays postseason game can tell you, it’s an electric atmosphere.