Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays caught in bridge gridlock

OAKLAND, Calif. — Just getting to the stadium for Friday's game against the A's was a hassle for the Rays.

Except for the few who were wise enough to take the train.

The Bay Bridge that connects San Francisco, where the team stays, and Oakland is closed this weekend for construction reasons as a new span is set to open. So finding an alternate route is necessary, leading to massive traffic delays.

For Rays starting pitcher David Price, that meant about two hours in the back of a town car and a $202 fare.

"Safe to say I'm not in the best mood now," was among Price's more reasonable tweets.

The rest of the team and staff that rode the scheduled 2 p.m. bus didn't fare much better. The usual 30- to 45-minute ride took 1 hour, 43 minutes, not that too many were counting.

"Brutal," infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez said.

"Especially after a four-plus hour flight (on Thursday), a two-hour bus ride is not exactly ideal," infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson said.

"It wasn't the most enjoyable bus ride experience," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "Guys are aggravated. And we're ready to play tonight."

Rays officials were aware of the situation and were told the new routing would take an hour, tops, plus they had a police escort to get them from the hotel to the highway.

When the first bus took so long, the Rays canceled their second bus, with the handful of staff, TV broadcasters Brian Anderson and Dewayne Staats, and shortstop Yunel Escobar taking the BART train.

Manager Joe Maddon, naturally, said the long bus trip wasn't so bad, calling it "the Kumbaya ride." He said it was nostalgic, reminding him of his days as a minor-league manager where such trips, and longer, were routine. Plus, he said, because he had an iPad and a smartphone, he could keep busy, including plotting possible offseason trips in his new 40-foot recreational vehicle.

His only regret was not bringing his headphones, because he had Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy loaded and could have watched the whole movie.

Pitcher Alex Cobb was among players who rode the train, which goes under the bay and takes less than 30 minutes. Most of thr Rays plan to do so today,

"Thought ahead," Cobb said. "I think everyone was aware. Most everybody told us at the hotel. I just don't think they thought it would take as long as it did."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

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