Rays sell extra tickets for Game 6
Upper-deck tarps removed, creating 5,762 additional seats
ST. PETERSBURG -- Buck Sherman sat in the very top row of Tropicana Field on Saturday night, a part of history he swore he wouldn't forget.
Wearing an old green Devil Rays jersey, Sherman's seat was one of the 5,762 extra tickets sold for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, as the Rays elected to remove the tarps in the upper deck to accommodate high playoff ticket demand.
For Sherman, the opportunity was particularly meaningful. The South Florida resident had tickets to a Rays game last season and had planned on making the trip with his brother, Andrew. But sadly, Andrew never got to make that Rays-White Sox game, as he was admitted to hospice the day of the game and passed away not long after with liver cancer.
Saturday night, Buck stood in the stadium's top row and thought of how much Andrew would have loved to see the Rays play in the ALCS. He even wore his brother's old jersey as a way of bringing Andrew into the Rays stadium on such a historic night.
"That's the idea," Sherman said.
Based on the input and feedback from fans, team president Matt Silverman said the Rays opted to sell the seats and warn buyers that the catwalks made for a partially obstructed view.
"We want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy this," Silverman said.
And enjoy they did.
Carrying a sign that read, "I have the worst seat, but at least I'm here," Seminole, Fla., resident Sheila Groff jokingly referred to the oxygen tank she had to tote for extra air.
"It's all about being here, being in this atmosphere," Groff said. "All I care about is watching the home-plate umpire so I can watch the batter. And I can see B.J. Upton in the outfield. All that matters is I'm here."
Largo, Fla., resident Julia St. Amand agreed.
"I didn't turn around, I just kept climbing and climbing to my seat," she said. But once up high in the corner of the Trop, Amand was thrilled.
"I love it here," she said. "And if the catwalk wasn't here it would be great."
Even with the catwalks covering some of the spectator's view, most of the fans could clearly make out home plate and the majority of the infield.
The lone concern?
"I hope I can see Evan [Longoria]," Amber Tirey said.
Joined by her husband, Mike and their two children, the Tirey clan drove nearly an hour from their home in Newport, Fla., after learning they won the lottery for the extra seats.
"We had to be here," Mike said. "It's a part of history, and we're just glad to be part of the experience and glad they took the tarp off."
Count Rays manager Joe Maddon as another supporter for those extra seats. The third-year skipper has always been vocal in appreciating the fan support and was thrilled to add more seats to the dome he lovingly dubs "The Pit."
"That's [about] 6,000 more cowbells potentially," Maddon said, referring to the popular instrument accompanying Rays fans. "It can be even more raucous. It will be fun."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.