The Tampa Bay Rays are sending a strong to message to fans as the 2022 season approaches: “We’re bringing back the fun.” After two years of playing in front of cardboard cutouts, enforcing distanced pod seating, and eliminating draft beer and fountain soda, the Rays are ready to party in the stands at Tropicana Field. Opening Day is this Friday at 3 pm against the Orioles, and the hometown team is prepared to play.
At a media preview day this week, the Rays showed off a tremendously expanded fan experience, and it’s clear that they knocked it out of the … well, let’s just say they added some incredible food, drinks and experiences for home games. In addition to bringing back draft beer and fountain soda, they’ve expanded their culinary offerings and created new in-stadium experiences for all.
There’s far more than this, but here are the top five new things to check out at The Trop in 2022:
- Ice Cream Nachos – Our friends at Beans & Barlour have done it again, this time debuting waffle cone ice cream nachos, with three scoops of ice cream covered in toppings and served on top of chips made from crunchy waffle cone.
- Rays Up Roll – Pacific Counter is already one of our favorites in St. Pete, and now they’ve unveiled one of the most creative concoctions around. The masterminds behind this flavorful sushi describe it as “like a California roll and a chimichanga had a love child.”
- Footlong Tater Tot – Exactly what it sounds like, this is a footlong hunk of fried potato covered in bacon, sour cream, jalapenos and scallions. Your doctor may hate it, but your taste buds will love it.
- Rays Museum – The new Rays Museum in the concourse celebrates nearly 25 years of achievement, with four different areas showcasing distinct features of the team’s history, both current and distant. Nostalgic fans will particularly enjoy the alcove dedicated to the Devil Rays era. The museum is free for all game attendees.
- Korean Spiced Chicken Sandwich – Korean fried chicken is a staff favorite here at I Love The Burg, and this offering from Modern Bird comes in strong with gochujang sauce, house slaw and spicy mayo atop delicious chicken on a soft roll.
More to experience at Rays games
The only trouble with a top five list is that it limits how many new things you can talk about. So for those with big appetites, rest assured there is plenty more to be discovered. More of our favorites include the P&P Pierogi, a potato pierogi with chorizo butter available at Pig & Potato, the Chicken Queso Dip at Modern Bird, the new Caribbean Bowl and Jerk Chicken Sandwich at Beach Drive, and the Italian-inspired wraps from Impasto.
If you really want the full gastronomic experience, head to Beach Drive in the third base food hall and grab the Steel Drum: a house-smoked turkey leg seasoned with star anise and jalapeno pineapple honey. And don’t worry, if you feel a food coma coming on, our friends at Kahwa Coffee have fresh joe throughout the park to make sure you last until the 9th inning.
Additionally, the Rays have upped their craft beer game, working with distributors and local breweries to provide a wealth of Tampa Bay-brewed draft and canned beer throughout the stadium, including area favorite Coppertail Brewing Co. In more good beer news, Ballpark & Rec, next to the main entrance, will continue to open two hours prior to first pitch and remain open for one hour following the game, with $5 drafts during pre-game and up until first pitch every day.
The Rays are also continuing the fan favorite $5 Fridays, offering 16-ounce Budweiser and Bud Light at concession stands throughout the ballpark for just five bucks. Souvenir cups are back, as well, allowing fans unlimited refills at the Coca-Cola Refresh Stations located throughout the stadium.
And to make sure fans don’t have to miss any of the action, mobile ordering is now available at Tropicana Field with the MLB Ballpark App, allowing you to order food from your seat, then skip the line and pick it up when it’s ready.
New giveaways and promotions coming in 2022
In addition to the new food, drinks and museum, the Rays marketing and promotions team also shared some exciting giveaways this season of what will surely become collector’s items. On Friday, May 27 they will be giving away Wander Franco Chain Necklaces by DEX Imaging. On Tuesday, June 21, they are debuting a fantastic Mike Zunino “Florida Man” bobblehead presented by Bally Sports Sun, complete with jean shorts and an alligator, a tip of the cap to his college playing days at the University of Florida.
And perhaps our favorite comes on Saturday, July 30 when Crown Automotive Group presents a Brett Phillips throwback Devil Rays basketball jersey. That one is certain to be a hot ticket.
For this season’s full schedule and to find tickets, visit mlb.com/rays.
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