A capacity crowd at Tropicana Field is 31,042 and, outside of a two dates very, very early in the season, the fourth place Tampa Bay Rays haven’t come anywhere close to filling the place since Opening Day.
That was, of course, until Derek Jeter came to town.
You see, the New York are drawing crowds all across baseball…with fans hoping to get one last glimpse of their team captain and his retirement sideshow. Saturday in St. Petersburg was no different, except for one thing…the fans weren’t cheering on their hometown Rays.
They were cheering on the Yankees.
“Yeah, it’s great. It’s great that it’s sold out. And I understand that the people like Derek Jeter,” Rays skipper Joe Maddon said. But you’ve got to come out and root for the Rays, too, you understand. I mean, I totally understand what’s going on. But I’m not going to sit here and defend all of that noise in the Yankees’ favor in our ballpark. I’m not going to defend that. So we’re going to come out and root for the Rays. We’d appreciate that.”
“That noise” Maddon is referring to? The cheers Jeter received throughout the game and, especially, when he delivered an RBI single in the top of the ninth that put his Yankees ahead 3-2.