ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays announced their ticket prices for the 2012 season, with 90 percent of them remaining the same or decreasing.
Despite Tampa Bay making its third playoff appearance in the past four years, its total home attendance dropped in 2011 (1,529,188) to its lowest since 2007 (1,389,031), when the then-Devil Rays were the worst team in baseball.
The Rays' average attendance (18,878) was 29th in the majors, topping only the Athletics. Tampa Bay, which was ranked second in affordability by ESPN among teams in all four major sports, will continue to allow fans to bring in food and select beverages and feature a free-parking policy for carpoolers of four or more in team-controlled lots.
"Our onfield accomplishments over the past four seasons have provided some memorable moments for our fans. Just as important to us is that our ticket prices have remained among the most affordable in all of professional sports," Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. "Our ticket options for 2012 will again be aimed at making the ballpark experience affordable for families."
There will still be the four categories for ticket prices — Diamond ($19-$175), Platinum ($17-$155), Gold ($12-$125) and Silver ($9-$115). Diamond consists of weekend games against the Red Sox, Yankees and Braves. Platinum includes Monday-Thursday games with the Red Sox and Yankees. Gold games include the remaining Friday, Saturday and Sunday games, as well as an interleague series vs. the Mets (June 12-14). Silver games include the remaining weekday games in which both upper box and upper reserved seats will be $9.
The Rays say there will be postgame concerts after selected Saturday games and "Family Fun Days" again Sundays.
Among the changes will be game times for weekday games, which will be — for the most part — 7:10 p.m. for Monday-Friday (with 12 exceptions). Saturday game times have yet to be announced; Sundays remain at 1:40 p.m. The Rays said lower box and outfield seats will increase $1 and $2 for some games.
Around the majors
DUQUETTE READY: Dan Duquette, Baltimore's new executive vice president of baseball operations, is confident he can make a team that has finished in last place for four straight years relevant again in the AL East.
"That's the challenge of the job, right? The way that we're going to be competitive is we're going to bring in some good players and build our team from the ground up," Duquette said at his introductory news conference.
In other Orioles news, reliever Alfredo Simon was acquitted of an involuntary manslaughter charge in his native Dominican Republic.
Manager openings: Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona interviewed with the Cardinals. Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux is slated to interview with the Cubs today, and Boston plans to interview Sandy Alomar Jr., Torey Lovullo and Gene Lamont this week.
EXEC RECOVERING: Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall had surgery to remove his prostate, and doctors found that his cancer had not spread to other areas.
BREWERS: The team is bringing back manager Ron Roenicke's entire coaching staff.
PHILLIES: Right-handed reliever Ryan Madson is in talks for a four-year, $44 million deal.
Information from Times wires was used in this report. Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.