Rays to hand out 20,000 free tickets

Sept. 28, 2010 at 8:24 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Rays announced Tuesday they will give away 20,000 free tickets after players complained about Monday's sparse crowd.

Team President Matt Silverman announced the move after Rays players Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and David Price expressed frustration and embarrassment that only 12,446 fans turned out for Monday's game against Baltimore, The Tampa Tribune reported.

"You've heard from a couple of our players about the crowd (Monday) night, you can sense from that and from other comments throughout the year that our players really thrive on the energy in the ball park when it's full," Silverman said.

The newspaper said the team would give away 20,000 free tickets to Wednesday night's game against the Orioles on a first-come, first-served basis in response to the players' comments.

Despite being on the verge of clinching a playoff berth having one of the best records in baseball, the team drew its fourth-smallest crowd of the season to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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