ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The Rays are facing off against the Detroit Tigers on opening day on Thursday. The game marks the start of the team’s 25th season.
Darryl Williams was at the team’s first game in 1998, he has been a season ticket holder ever since.
“I’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, the ugly,” he said.
The original ticket from the game, also against the Detroit Tigers, is framed and hangs on his wall. It’s the most prized piece of memorabilia in his collection, which includes signed baseballs, bobble heads, bats and countless other items.
The superfan lives in Plant City, but he makes the trek to Tropicana Field for at least 30 games each year – that’s more than 700 games in the last quarter century. Williams’ seats, in the front row right next to the Rays dugout, are where he’s made some of his favorite memories.
“[The team] can hear me, also. I said, ‘Joe take him out, take him out, take him out.’ He pops out of the dugout, pulls the pitcher out, walks back towards the dugout and he points at me and says, ‘if this doesn’t work it’s on you’,” he said.
“The beery guys, they look for me. It’s kind of hard to miss,” William said, gesturing to his mullet haircut. “They look for me and they automatically have what I want, you know, bringing it to me.”
The fan says he’s grateful 25 years of friendship and baseball fun with the Tampa Bay Rays.