My dad and I try to hit a different baseball stadium every summer for a vacation. He always let me pick the destination and in the winter before the 2008 season started, I saw the Rays change their name from Devil Rays to Rays.
I told my dad I wanted to go to Tampa and so we did, and we went to five games. The first game we had tickets behind home plate there was a man in front of us.
After sitting a few minutes watching batting practice my dad goes and gets concessions and I stay at the seats. The man in front of me and I start talking and when my dad gets back to the seats, he says to my dad he’s astounded at how much I know about baseball.
A little while later two friends of his showed up a husband and wife I talked to them as well and watched the game. The next night we had the same seats and the husband and wife showed up with two trash bags full of Rays stuff they collected over the years and gave it to me.
How can an 8-year-old boy not fall in love with a team when that happens? We became good friends with the three people that sat in front of us that day.
We went back to the Trop the next year and had dinner at the husband and wife’s house and they let me swim in their pool. They also still send me letters sometimes with Rays monthly magazines.
Also, after the 2008 season they sent me a replica AL Championship ring they got as season ticket holders.
They also knew the owner of the Rays and he sent me a letter thanking me for coming to Tropicana Field.. Thirteen years after my first trip to the Trop I am still a huge Rays fan despite living in Missouri and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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