Monday, November 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

More cowbell has consequences at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG — Attention, Rays fans: There is cowbell etiquette at Tropicana Field, and it is enforced.

It was those bells, ringing loud and proud, that got Dave Wearing, 59, and his family of avid Rays fans ejected from Tropicana Field three weeks ago.

For every game they attend, the Flex Pack holders bring their gear — Rays hats and wristbands, license plates and car magnets, even a $120 corn hole set bearing the baseball team's logo.

And they've been uninterruptedly ringing their cowbells for years.

But on May 24, the night the Rays beat the Red Sox in extra innings, the family learned the hard way that the traditional noisemakers sold at the Trop come with rules — ones that got them kicked out.

"We didn't even get to see them win the game," Wearing said.

Wearing, his wife, their daughter, her boyfriend and a family friend had arrived for the game early to tailgate, as they always do.

Later, they found their seats in right field, among a sea of Boston fans. In the first inning, the Sox scored five runs, and the Boston fan base responded accordingly.

"These Red Sox fans around us were really giving us the business," Wearing said.

Then the Rays began a slow comeback, and with each run or admirable play, Wearing and his family clanged their bells, in the same fashion they always have.

First, an usher came by and asked the family to ring the bells a little less — they were disturbing the fans around them. Then came warning No. 2, a couple of innings later, when the usher handed the group a piece of paper explaining the Trop's guidelines for cowbell etiquette.

It read, "Ring your cowbells when the following occurs: A Rays pitcher has two strikes against a batter. A Rays player reaches base or scores a run. Prompted by our RaysVision scoreboard."

The same instructions are announced in a video before each game, but Jordan Bailey, the boyfriend of Wearing's daughter, Ali, said the family usually enters after it plays.

Bailey, who turns 32 today, said he has rung a cowbell at probably 75 games and never before been told how to do it. He said he has never seen the video.

At that May 24 game, Bailey voiced his objections, and soon a couple of police officers escorted him to a holding area. He refused to show them his ID and was belligerent, Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said, which got him banned for the season.

"It was more about his behavior than anything else," Vaughn said. "He was banned for the season because of his disrespect for everyone involved."

The rest of the group was asked to leave the game, too.

"I just thought, 'Hey, this is really unfair,' " Wearing said. "No punches were thrown. No beverages were thrown. All we were doing was ringing our cowbells."

The Wearings have decided they won't attend any more games this season, even though they still have six games remaining on their Flex Packs.

"We're not going to go back if Jordan can't go," Wearing said.

Bailey has tried to get his ban lifted but was denied. Now he's attempting to get the money he paid for his Flex Pack refunded.

Bailey said his frustration lies in the lack of communication between those who sell the cowbells and those who regulate their ringing.

For the rest of the season, these fans will watch their Rays from home, where they're free to ring their cowbells whenever they want.

Katie Mettler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @kemettler.

Comments
Winning by losing: How ex-Ray Nathan Eovaldi sparked Red Sox to World Series title

Winning by losing: How ex-Ray Nathan Eovaldi sparked Red Sox to World Series title

Nathan Eovaldi's effort ó 97 pitches over six innings ó galvanized the team and drew praise from manager Joey Cora.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Tales: Does Blake Snellís Cy Young salvage the 2011 draft?

Rays Tales: Does Blake Snellís Cy Young salvage the 2011 draft?

For all the misses the Rays had in the 2011 draft, Snell has been a pretty big hit. Is that enough?
Published: 11/17/18
Cubs/ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon again helping Tampa Bay area homeless with Thanksmas events

Cubs/ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon again helping Tampa Bay area homeless with Thanksmas events

Maddon and his Respect 90 Foundation will provide PDQ meals, backpacks and socks at several area centers.
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/16/18
Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell shares a secret to his success

Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell shares a secret to his success

Blake Snell had special thanks for Kyle Snyder, who has been his pitching coach and confidant at several levels.
Published: 11/15/18
What theyíre saying about Rays Blake Snell winning the AL Cy Young award

What theyíre saying about Rays Blake Snell winning the AL Cy Young award

Here was the scene at Blake Snell's house in Seattle when they got news of his victory:The moment @snellzilla4 and his crew got the #CyYoung news. pic.twitter.com/iIukJZlHL5— MLB (@MLB) November 14, 2018Here is what some of Snell's teammates ha...
Published: 11/15/18
10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Published: 11/15/18
Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Covering the team long before it played its first game gave him the background to become the Rays’ historian.
Published: 11/15/18
That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Published: 11/14/18
Updated: 11/15/18
Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Published: 11/14/18
Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

The Rays are closing in on hiring a third-base coach, with longtime Astros minor-league coach/manager Rodney Linares the leading candidate.Discussions remaining ongoing to fill the other opening on the staff for a major-league field coordinator, with...
Published: 11/14/18