PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- For the first time in nearly a year, the Rays are set to play a home game in front of fans in their home state.
Tickets to the Rays’ home Spring Training games at Charlotte Sports Park will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ET in the MLB Ballpark app and at RaysBaseball.com, the club announced on Wednesday.
The team is selling tickets in socially distant pods of two to four seats. Face masks will be required for fans at all times, except while actively eating or drinking in their seats. In order to accommodate six feet or more of separation between pods, the ballpark capacity will be limited this spring and season tickets will not be available.
The tickets for Spring Training home games are available exclusively in the MLB Ballpark app, with information on mobile tickets available at RaysBaseball.com/Mobile. Paper tickets are not available or accepted. Spring Training season ticket holders will have access to purchase tickets at a 10 percent discount (off single-game pricing) through an exclusive online presale. Spring season ticket holders should receive an email with additional information.
To further cut down on contact at the ballpark, the Rays announced that parking in Charlotte Sports Park’s main lot will be free this spring. For a full list of health and safety measures in place during Spring Training, fans can visit RaysBaseball.com/spring.
Games from Sunday through March 13 are scheduled to last seven innings, although they can be shortened to five innings or lengthened to nine if agreed upon by both clubs the night before each game. The Rays’ nationally televised March 2 game against the Red Sox, for instance, is already expected to be a full nine innings. Every game from March 14-28 is tentatively scheduled to go nine innings, although managers can mutually agree to shorten those games to seven innings as well.
The last time the Rays played a game in front of their fans in Florida was last March, before Spring Training was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they’ve played a 60-game season with no fans in the stands followed by a friends-and-family crowd in the American League Wild Card Series at Tropicana Field. The Rays then advanced to a neutral-site postseason series in San Diego and Arlington, with more than 11,000 fans in attendance for each of the six World Series games.
No matter how many people are in the stands this spring, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said the Rays will be excited to see them.
“It's going to be awesome. We're all excited about that,” Cash said. “We'll take whatever we can get. In this industry, our players thrive for fans. And we've missed them, and hopefully they've missed us, and we can entertain them for three hours -- or less than three hours during Spring Training.”