Although there's a chance that rain will force the postponement of Game 3 of the World Series in Philadelphia tonight, you don't want to be caught without plans if you want to hang out with fellow members of the Rays Republic. Here are some of our picks for a sure crowd of in-the-know, fired up fans, plus some suggestions for watching the rest of the run.
The Ultimate Ray Playground
Of course you've been seeing Ferg's near the stadium on TV or reading about it, but have you gone down there? If not, this is a scene that's so close to the action in St. Petersburg you can hear the cheers from the Trop.
Filled with fans from both teams (one news story estimated 17,000 people passed through at various times during Game 6 of the Boston series), it's a hub of activity. Booths of official World Series merchandise are sold alongside food, beer, cigars and tickets to the game if you're willing to pay the price. Get an up-close and personal look at the wide-eyed Phillies fans as they take in the sprawl of it all.
Don't fear the parking situation. It's an easy walk from around Fifth Street, where $5 parking was available during Game 1. And you'll find plenty of food available outside because the wait to get in can be long because of fire marshal rules about overcrowding.
If the Rays have a chance to clinch the series, get there and be part of the off-the-charts celebration. (Just be nice and don't scream at Coach; we're sure he's going to be busy.)
Freaking fan zones
Another fall classic is going on tonight, and that's Guavaween in Ybor City. The event's organizers are ready if the game goes on. Teri Cox, president of CC Event Productions (and a huge Rays fan), says bands and announcers at the raucous Halloween blowout will be giving scoring updates as the night goes on. "It's a big deal,'' she said. "We've told everyone to bring cowbells because the costume award is judged by crowd applause and that Rayhawks count as costumes."
- Bring your own seating and view the games on an 18- by 24-foot screen at 8 tonight, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday and Thursday (if needed) in Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. These events are free, and concessions will be available. If it rains, games will be shown in the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive. Call (727) 587-6740, ext 5014.
- The Pier in St. Petersburg will continue its watch parties in its courtyard with a big screen. Bring your own chairs. Concessions will be available.
- Games 4-7 (as long as the series lasts) will be shown free of charge at the Muvico Theater in Ybor City at 1600 E Eighth Ave.
- Beach Theater will show Games 5 (and 6 and 7 if played) free of charge, beginning at 7:15 p.m., 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach.
- The Tampa Pitcher Show is holding a free watch party tonight and Sunday night on its 25-foot screen. Doors open at 7:30, with free hot dogs for the kids while they last. There will be food and beverage specials all game long at 14416 N Dale Mabry Highway.
- Tampa is hosting a free watch party at Cotanchobee Park along the waterfront behind the St. Pete Times Forum on Sunday. Bring chairs or a blanket.