Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rays concert series

The Tampa Bay Rays today announced seven of their eight musical performers for the Summer Concert Series, presented by Hess Express, at Tropicana Field this season.

The concerts will begin shortly after select Saturday home games conclude and are FREE with the purchase of that night’s game ticket. Tickets for these Marquee games start at only $13. The Summer Concert Series, scheduled to begin May 30 and conclude on September 5, is part of Rays Saturday Nights presented by Bright House Sports Network.

As part of its Saturday partnerships, Hess Express will have an exclusive in-store ticket offer, and Bright House will have an exclusive ticket offer available only to Bright House customers.

Full Season Ticket Holders who purchased all 81 games in the Home Plate Club, Whitney Bank Club, Fieldside Box, Lower Infield Box or Lower Box locations will receive wristbands for special on-field access during the concert series. Season ticket plans including all the Summer Concert Series games offer up to 35% savings and include postseason privileges.

For more information on season tickets or group sales, call 888-FAN-RAYS. Tickets for these games and all other Rays home games are available at the Tropicana Field Box Office, Rays Tampa Office & Pro Shop, via the Rays official website ( or, all Ticketmaster locations, and via Ticketmaster Phonecharge at (727) 898-7297 or (407) 839-3900.

The Summer Concert Series, presented by Hess Express, debuted with eight concerts in 2008 and was a rousing success on all fronts. The Rays went 8-0 on those dates and drew an average of more than 30,000 fans per game.

TBA – May 30 – Rays vs. Twins, 4:10 p.m.

Ludacris – June 13 – Rays vs. Nationals, 6:08 p.m.You can call Chris “Ludacris” Bridges a number of things: hip-hop superstar, actor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, restaurateur, pitchman, online visionary and columnist. All of these labels are accurate. The Grammy® Award-winning, Atlanta-based entertainment maven continues to expand his reach, and his musical prowess remains as potent as ever with singles such as “What Them Girls Like,” “Rollout,” “Money Maker,” “Stand Up,” “Southern Hospitality” and “Get Back.”

Pat Benatar – June 27 – Rays vs. Marlins, 7:08 p.m.
Four-time Grammy® Award-winning singer Pat Benatar is best known for hit songs such as “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” She has sold more than 12 million records, including two multi-platinum albums. She also has 19 Top-40 singles to her credit. Billboard magazine ranked her as the most successful female rock vocalist of all time.

Smash Mouth – July 11 – Rays vs. Athletics, 6:08 p.m.
With surf and garage influences, Smash Mouth found a hit in 1997 with the ’50s-influenced “Walkin’ on the Sun.” The group was formed in 1994 in San Jose, Calif., by vocalist Steve Harwell. It became a No. 1 modern rock hit and pushed the album into the Top 40. The follow-up album Astro Lounge was released in 1999, generating the hit “All Star.” The group also contributed numerous tracks to a plethora of motion pictures, most notably their cover of the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” (from their eponymous release) to the soundtrack of 2001 hit movie Shrek. Many of these appeared on the August 2005 Smash Mouth hits collection All Star Smash Hits.

Daughtry – August 1 – Rays vs. Royals, 6:08 p.m.
Grammy®-nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Daughtry was the fourth-place finalist on the fifth season of American Idol and has since landed a deal with RCA Records. His band’s self-titled debut album sold more than 1 million copies after only five weeks of release, becoming the fastest-selling debut record album in history. In its ninth week of release, the album reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Daughtry’s debut single “It's Not Over” soared to No. 1 on the Adult Top-40 chart, the Hot AC chart and the Billboard Top Singles chart. His follow-up singles “What About Now,” “Home,” and “Feels Like Tonight” also shot up the charts and remain top industry hits. His second album is set for release this summer.

B-52’s – August 15 – Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:08 p.m.
The first of many acts to cement the college town of Athens, Ga., as a hotbed of alternative music, the B-52’s took their name from the Southern slang for the mile-high bouffant wigs sported by singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, a look emblematic of the band’s campy, thrift-store aesthetic. The five-piece group, which also included founding member Fred Schneider, the B-52’s are known for such hits as “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack” and “Roam.” In 2008 the band returned with a new album for the first time in 16 years. Released by Astralwerks, Funplex was a slick, synthesizer-driven effort produced by Steve Osborne.

Big & Rich – August 22 – Rays vs. Rangers, 7:08 p.m.
Country music duo Big & Rich is comprised of singer-songwriters Big Kenny and John Rich. In 2004, they released their first studio album, Horse of a Different Color, which featured what has become their signature song, “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”. This album also had three Top-40 singles, including “Wild West Show.” In 2005, they released Comin’ to Your City, which included the Top-5 single of the same name. Their 2007 album Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace peaked at No. 1 on the charts.

The Beach Boys – September 5 – Rays vs. Tigers, 7:08 p.m.
Beginning their career as the most popular surf band in the nation, The Beach Boys finally emerged by 1966 as America’s preeminent pop group, with hit singles such as “Surfin’ USA,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and the album “Pet Sounds.” The Beach Boys remain an iconic group to this day, with timeless hits like “Kokomo,” “Good Vibrations,” “Barbara Ann,” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.” According to Billboard, The Beach Boys are the No. 1 selling American band of all time. They have had 36 Top-40 hits, the most of any U.S. rock band.

Rays Summer Concert Series, presented by Hess Express
Scheduled to Appear:
Saturday, May 30 TBA vs. Twins 4:10 p.m.
Saturday, June 13 Ludacris vs. Nationals 6:08 p.m.
Saturday, June 27 Pat Benatar vs. Marlins 7:08 p.m.
Saturday, July 11 Smash Mouth vs. Athletics 6:08 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 1 Daughtry vs. Royals 6:08 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 15 B-52’s vs. Blue Jays 7:08 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 22 Big & Rich vs. Rangers 7:08 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5 The Beach Boys vs. Tigers 7:08 p.m.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two flights and a ring for Burrell

Pat Burrell took advantage of tonight's game in Boston to hop on over to Philadelphia to pick up his World Series ring.

The Rays DH, who played left field for the Phillies last season, delivered the seventh inning double off J.P. Howell that led to the winning run in the Phillies 4-3 series-clinching victory against the Rays in Game 5 of the World Series.

The Phillies received their rings before Wednesday afternoon's win against the Braves.

Burrell, who signed with the Rays in early January, took a private jet back to Boston and is in the lineup against the Rays tonight.

The Rays will receive their American League champion rings before Tuesday's home game against the Yankees.

No word of Jonny Gomes or Trever Miller will fly in for the honors.

Could see Cliff Floyd, who signed with the Padres in the offseason and is on the DL with a shoulder injury.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hey Boston, need a roof?

The 2009 schedule was completed sometime last August, and at the time, no one envisioned the Rays would begin this season as the defending AL champs.

Well, no one outside of Tampa Bay maybe.

So that's why the Rays are in Boston this week for the first series of the season.

Would have been nice had MLB switched the opening series to Tampa Bay so the defending champs could open at home and raise the pennant on Opening Day.

Seems like a good idea now that today's game at Fenway Park was rained out.

It's raining here, too.

But the dome would ensure that there would be baseball today.

Why the Rays don't open at home every year against a northern team that plays outdoors is a mystery.

But when it comes to logic and Major League Baseball, there are many mysteries.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hammel traded; Niemann fifth starter

The Rays traded Jason Hammel to the Rockies on Sunday for Double A pitching prospect Aneury Rodriguez, a moves that makes Jeff Niemann the fifth starter and Lance Cormier the long-man in the bullpen.

The trade was made after Hammel pitched in a Triple A game at the Rays spring training complex in Port Charlotte.

The 26-year-old Hammel was 4-4 with a 4.60 ERA in 40 appearances last season for the Rays. He started five games in April in place of Scott Kazmir, who was on the disabled list. Hammel became the long-man once Kazmir returned.

Niemann made two starts when Matt Garza was on the disabled list last April, splitting the two decisions.

The 6-foot-9 right-hander is thought to have more upside than Hammel, though his future with the Rays could be as a relief pitcher, perhaps even as the closer.

Niemann will hold on to the fifth spot until the Rays decide David Price is ready to rejoin the team. Price, who earned his first big league win and save in last October’s ALCS, will begin the year in Triple A.

The 21-year-old Rodriguez was to start the season in Double A for the Rockies. The hard-throwing right-hander was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA last season at Class A. He had 139 strikeouts and 40 walks.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Hammel trade? is reporting the Rockies are close to acquiring Rays pitcher Jason Hammel in exchange for minor league pitcher Aneury Rodriguez, a 21-year-old who was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in Class A last season.

The Rockies are expected to put Hammel in the bullpen.

This is somewhat of a surprise since it is Jeff Niemann who has garnered the most trade talk during the last week of spring training.

But Niemann has more upside than Hammel. The Rays feel Hammel has reached his peak as a starter, which is why they were happy to leave him in the bullpen as the long man last season after Scott Kazmir returned from the disabled list.

Niemann made just two major league starts last season, splitting two decisions. He looked great in one, awful in the other.

But the Rays see Niemann as a possible closer.

Both Niemann and Hammel are scheduled to pitch Sunday in a Triple A game in Port Charlotte.

The Rays have until 3 p.m. to finalize the Opening Day roster.

Expect some movement either before 3 p.m. or soon after.

We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

News and a game

Getting a late start here.

Lots going on here as the Rays prepare to break camp after today's game with the Twins.

A few players mentioned they hope they don't get tickets as the speed up I-75 later this afternoon. The Rays have the day off tomorrow then fly to Philly Friday morning for an exhibition game with the Phillies that night.

The news ...

Jason Isringhausen is heading to the disabled list so he can continue to build up strength in his right arm.

No decision on the fifth starer.

No decision on the final outfielder, but it looks like they're leaning toward Matt Joyce since they are scheduled to face four righties in the first six games.

Second baseman Adam Kennedy was optioned to Triple A Durham, but will travel to Philly for the games Friday and Saturday.

As for the game ...

The Rays are down 1-0 in the middle of the third. James Shields has allowed four hits. Aki Iwamura beat out and infield single in the first for the Rays lone hit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rays rally falls short

And that's your ball game.

Willy Aybar grounded out to second with runner's on the corner in the top of the ninth.

Your final from City of Palms Park: Red Sox 8, Rays 7.

Here's an interesting note: This was the 88th consecutive sell-out at this park.