The New York Yankees make their only visit to Charlotte Sports Park this afternoon, the second and final meeting between the clubs this spring (Rays lost 5-1 in Tampa on February 26th). The Rays are currently second to the Yankees in the AL East this spring, 2.5 games back. The teams meet for real on April 13th at the Rays home opener, and the Rays make their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium on May 6th.
Today's game will mark the 6th sellout of the spring at Charlotte Sports Park and may be the largest crowd of the spring, surpassing the facility’s all-time record the Rays set on March 8th vs. Boston (7,147). The Rays have drawn 75,653 to Charlotte Sports Park through 12 games so far this spring, a 6,304 average (exhibition with Puerto Rico included). That makes 2009 the 2nd-highest spring total attendance figure in the club’s 12-year history behind the 79,044 in 2007, which included a game at Tropicana Field that drew over 14,000. The Rays are also averaging 6,996 away from Charlotte County, the 7th-highest average spring road attendance in the majors.
The Rays and the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition (CHCC) are holding a food drive at Charlotte Sports Park today. Donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted at all gates and CCHC will also accept cash donations. The donations will provide food for the CCHC pantry and feeding programs which currently feed over 100 homeless individuals and families each evening. For more information, please call 941-627-4313.
The Rays Hot Stove Radio Show, "Countdown to Opening Day," goes live from Joe Cracker Sportsgrille and Tiki every Monday in March (1020 El Jobean in Charlotte County) at 7 p.m. on 620-AM WDAE. Tomorrow’s show features Rays bullpen coach coach Bobby Ramos and catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays broadcasters Andy Freed and Dave Wills will host the program, which will also be available via podcast on raysbaseball.com.
The Rays 28 stolen bases this spring are one shy of the Baltimore Orioles for most in the majors. Rays pitchers have issued the fewest walks in the majors with 49.