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Rays should have barrels of fun playing in Milwaukee

Notes | Tampa Bay is making its first visit since 2011, and ex-Brewer Drew Rasmussen says to expect “an awesome atmosphere.’'
The Racing Sausages run during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Milwaukee.
The Racing Sausages run during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Milwaukee. [ AARON GASH | AP ]
Published Aug. 8|Updated Aug. 8

MILWAUKEE — The Rays haven’t been to Milwaukee since their one and only visit in 2011, and only a handful have played there with other teams.

The former Brewer in their clubhouse says they are in for quite the experience.

And a good time.

“It’s awesome,” said pitcher Drew Rasmussen. “The city is really behind the Brewers and they usually pack that place out pretty good. They’re going to play Roll Out the Barrel (the Beer Barrel Polka) in the seventh inning after the stretch, and it’s going to be an awesome atmosphere.

“I’m excited to go back and see it and take it in almost as a fan knowing that I’m not going to throw in either of those two games. It’s a really fun atmosphere to be in.”

The Brewers, with a metro area less than half the size of the Tampa Bay market (1.566 million vs. 3.219 million, per, are averaging 30,437 fans a game this season, compared to the Rays’ 14,119. Pre-pandemic, the Brewers averaged 28,000-plus for 15 consecutive seasons, with nine at 34,000 or better.

The Brewers do make it entertaining, with an onfield sausage race in the sixth inning and mascot Bernie Brewer going down the slide beyond the outfield fence whenever the home team hits a home run.

Also part of the attraction is the stadium, now known as American Family Field after years as Miller Park after opening in 2001, with its retractable roof and side panels.

How the stadium is configured based on the weather can impact how the ball carries. “It kind of changes dependent on that stuff,” Rasmussen said.

Familiar faces

Former Ray Willy Adames celebrates with Rowdy Tellez after hitting a home run during the third inning of a game against the Reds Sunday.
Former Ray Willy Adames celebrates with Rowdy Tellez after hitting a home run during the third inning of a game against the Reds Sunday. [ MORRY GASH | AP ]

Most of the hugs were taken care of when the teams played at Tropicana Field in late June, but there will be plenty of conversations during the two-game series as the Brewers feature a number of former Rays.

That list includes infielders Willy Adames and Mike Brosseau; relievers Brad Boxberger, Matt Bush (a Rays minor-leaguer) and Hoby Milner; outfielder Hunter Renfroe; hitting coach Ozzie Timmons; and general manager Matt Arnold.

Related: Willy Adames, once the Rays' Pied Piper, now "the heartbeat" of Brewers' clubhouse

Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who will work behind an opener Tuesday, missed the first reunion while in the minors and is looking forward to seeing his ex-mates, Adames and Brosseau in particular.

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“It’ll be fun, man,” he said. “I think they’re really just great people and they’re great competitors and good players. … I’m sure we’ll give a smile at each other but I think it’ll be fun and good to compete against them.”


Right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, who had a rough Rays debut on Saturday after being claimed on waivers from the Marlins, will be the opener Tuesday. … Yarbrough has allowed just one run in each of his last two outings and has a 3.26 ERA over four since rejoining the team July 16. ... Third baseman Yandy Diaz is an 0-for-20 skid, first baseman Ji-Man Choi 2-for-25, shortstop Taylor Walls 5-for-39. ... The Brewers have lost six of their last seven games, and five since unexpectedly trading All-Star close Josh Hader to San Diego. … Assuming a normal length game Wednesday, the teams will play twice in roughly a 21-hour span. … Former Rays PR chief Rick Vaughn will sign copies of his new book, 100 Years of Baseball on St. Petersburg’s Waterfront, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

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