Less than a 2-hour drive from Orlando is Tropicana Field, home to the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. It is a huge stadium that looms into view long before you actually reach it - just like Wembley Stadium in London.
Ticket prices vary and there are often promotions available for discounts, there is no need to buy tickets from a third-party as the website is very easy to use.
Outside of the stadium is as much of an experience as inside. On game day the walk from the car park to the entrance is lined with companies giving away freebies, such as t-shirts and hats and hosting competitions. The match we saw was the Tampa Bay Rays vs The New York Yankees and the sponsors were giving away a free gift to all children as they entered the stadium – Mr Men bobble heads wearing baseball shirts, it was a lovely surprise for the kids and a nice keepsake to bring home.
Inside the stadium there was the usual array of food stands as you would find at most sporting events, but the portions were huge. The kids had ice creams that were as big as them! On one side of the stadium is a huge tank full of stingrays where t is possible to feed and touch the rays. The tank is open to visitors until roughly halfway through the match. No stadium would be complete without a merchandise shop and the one at Tropicana Field is huge!
The atmosphere throughout the day was electric, everybody talked to everybody, when a home run was hit the whole crowd cheered. There were no fights and we didn’t experience any threat of a fight, it was incredibly family friendly.
Baseball is a bit of a confusing game, but it’s fairly easy to pick up the rules as the match is played and there are many people in the crowd who are willing to share their knowledge with the untrained spectator. A friendly New Yorker and his wife took the time to explain the game to us as it progressed
The game stops roughly every 15 minutes (or at least it felt like 15 minutes) and some form of entertainment takes place. There was a mascot race, a pop up booth where somebody tried to catch as much cash as they could as It blew around in the air (I have no idea what you call those booths?), cheerleaders and the Kiss-Cam!
At the end of the match all the children were invited down onto the field to ‘run the bases’. They each got a chance to run a home run and high five all the stewards on the way past. Afterwards, the field was opened up and there were photo opportunities with the mascots and then the chance to have a dance in the children’s disco.
A day at the baseball is a great day out and a nice change from all of the theme parks in Orlando.