What was shaping up as one of the most lopsided playoff rounds of all-time for Major League Baseball — and a potentially tough one for some ticket brokers — has been saved by the most unlikely of teams.
The Tampa Bay Rays went on the road and won Games Three and Four of their American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10, to force a winner-take-all Game Five Tuesday, October 12, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Two stunning wins by the Rays — they didn’t lead in either of the first two games at home, which they lost by a combined score of 11-1, and didn’t take their first lead of the series until the eighth inning of Game Three — has done what 96 regular season wins couldn’t do: Turn the Rays into a hot ticket.
The Rays announced Monday, October 11 that they would remove the tarp from partially obstructed seats in the upper deck of the Trop and sell those 5,000 seats at $30 a pop. The addition of these seats means there are now nearly 42,000 tickets (41,973) available for Game Five.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Monday that fans began gathering at Tropicana Field at 6:30 in the morning, two-and-a-half hours before Game Five tickets went on sale. As of late afternoon Monday, the obstructed view tickets were still available at the Rays’ site. In addition, StubHub had 2,249 tickets available for Game Five, ranging from an obstructed view seat listed for $45 to a seat right behind home plate in section 104 listed for $2,500.
The Rays-Rangers clash will be the first Game Five in Division Series play since 2005, when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim nipped the New York Yankees to advance to the AL Championship Series, and the first time a team has come back from a 2-0 hole to force a Game Five since 2003, when the Boston Red Sox did it against the Oakland Athletics.
A Game Five this year didn’t appear likely when the Rangers, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies all jumped out to quick 2-0 leads in their respective matchups. The Yankees and Phillies easily closed out sweeps of the Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds over the weekend.
The San Francisco Giants appeared headed for a 2-0 lead, as well, but the Atlanta Braves won a dramatic extra inning duel in Game Two Friday, October 8 to assure that series would go at least four games. The Braves must win tonight in Atlanta to force a Game Five in San Francisco Wednesday, October 13.