Rays put 5,000 seats on sale for Game 5
The Tampa Bay Rays don't have an attendance problem for playoff games.
The team, which struggled to draw crowds all season despite posting the American League's best regular-season record, is making 5,000 obstructed-view seats available for Tuesday's fifth and deciding game of its AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers.
It's the first time this season the Rays have sold tickets for those seats, which are in the high reaches of Tropicana Field's third level and are usually covered with tarpaulins.
Tampa Bay, which lost the first two games of the series at home, rallied to win Games 3 and 4 in Texas to force Tuesday's winner-take-all Game 5. David Price will pitch for the Rays against Rangers ace Cliff Lee in a rematch of Game 1.
The New York Yankees are awaiting the winner in the American League Championship Series, which will begin Friday at Tampa Bay or Texas.
Since 2008, the Rays are 45-18 when they play in front of 30,000 fans or more at home, according to MLB.com. But they lost the last two of those contests, dropping Game 1 in front of 35,474 fans and Game 2 before a crowd of 35,535.
The Rays averaged 23,024 fans at home this season, ranking 22nd among the major leagues' 30 franchises.
With a win, the Rangers can make history in two ways. According to Elias Sports Bureau, dating back to the beginning of baseball postseason history in 1903, there has never been a major league playoff series in which the road team has won every single game. And the Rangers' franchise, dating back to its inception as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961, has never won a playoff series of any kind.
Tampa Bay also can add its name to the history books by becoming the eighth team to win a five-game series after trailing 2-0. The last team to accomplish the feat was the 2003 Boston Red Sox, in the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics.