ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — It was a win-or-go-home day for the Rays at Tropicana Field as they faced the Texas Rangers Wednesday in the second game of the best-of-three wild card series. Though people wanted to focus on the game at hand, many were talking about the attendance, or lack thereof, at Tuesday’s game.
“3 p.m., people are still working, haven’t gotten off,” said Eva Johnson. “They got to work because you got to eat.”
19,704 people went to Tuesday’s 3:08 p.m. game — more than 5,000 less than the listed capacity for the Trop. St. Pete residents on Wednesday said they supported the Rays, but many said they were not going to Wednesday’s game.
“I’m missing it. Me. I’m missing out on it,” Johnson said. “I would love to be there. And the same thing I’m going through, other people are going through, too.”
Many attributed the empty seats to the game time.
“Honestly, I was wondering about how filled [Tropicana Field] would get for a playoff game,” said Richard Farrell. “Because when I was there for the Blue Jays’ game, it was pretty empty.”
But there were still plenty of people going to Wednesday’s game.
“I am hopeful that we will be inspired by the less-than-ideal play yesterday to excel,” said Daniel Riveiro, Jr. “Obviously, it’s a must-win game for us.”
Riveiro and his friend Lance Ackerman would have gone to Tuesday’s game if it was at a better time.
“If it was later at night, more people are taking off,” Ackerman said. “We both work for ourselves, so we can say, ‘Hey, we’re done today, we’re going.’ Not everybody’s in that same boat.”
Some people not in that boat — the Rays’ youngest fans.
“I’m very confident that they’ll win,” said Brennan Hunt.
Hunt’s mom Nicole pulled the sixth-grader out of school to watch their first playoff game. And they weren’t the only ones.
“I’m feeling great, I think we’re going to win this,” said Dominic Beltran, another young Rays fan. “We got our ace on the mound right now.”
Dominic and Derek Beltran also got a pass from class and are hoping for a better result than Tuesday’s 4-0 loss.
“I’m feeling very excited,” said Dominic. “I was a little anxious and a little nervous because I want the Rays to win.”
Even a lone Ranger made the trip from Texas to the sea of Rays.
“Playoff baseball’s amazing,” said James Moore. “It’s a really good time.”
Airline pilot James Moore came to the game by himself.
“I literally decided at like, 7 o’clock last night I was coming,” Moore recalled. “I jumped on an airplane at 9 o’clock and I was here at 1 a.m.”
Moore said he’s never had a problem being one of a few Rangers’ fans at a game and loves the postseason.
“Some of the fairweather fans that just come and go stay home,” Moore explained. “It feels like it’s more baseball people during the playoffs.