PORT CHARLOTTE — For the first time since March, local Rays fans will have a chance to see the team play in person.
Tickets for the 14 spring training games at Charlotte Sports Park will go on sale to the general public Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com and through the MLB ballpark app.
And they are likely to go fast.
Capacity will be limited to around 1,100 due to pandemic social-distancing guidelines. Tickets will be sold in pods of two or four for fixed seats and the grass berms, but not along the boardwalk. Fans are required to wear face masks at all times except while actively eating or drinking at their seats.
In any amount and configuration, the Rays are excited about having fans in the stands, manager Kevin Cash said.
“We’ll take whatever we can get,” he said. “In this industry, our players thrive for fans. We’ve missed them. Hopefully they’ve missed us and we can entertain them for three hours, or less than three hours, of spring training.”
There will be a pre-sale starting Wednesday for previous spring season ticket holders, who get a 10 percent discount.
The Rays did not release prices, though they did say parking at the stadium will be free to ease entry and limit contact. All ticketing will be done through the MLB Ballpark app, with no printed versions.
In accordance with league rules, games from Feb. 28-March 13 will be scheduled for seven innings, with the potential to be shortened to five or extended to nine by agreement of the managers. (The March 2 game set for ESPN will go nine innings.) Games after March 13 will be scheduled for nine innings but can be shortened to seven.
Spring training in 2020 was halted in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rays played an abbreviated regular season at Tropicana Field with no fans, then two playoff games at home before a limited number of family, friends and team employees. There were a similar limited amount for playoff games in San Diego, then crowds of around 12,000 for the six World Series games in Arlington, Texas.