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10 hot dates at the dome

Need a reason to get into the baseball season? Here are 10 dates worth bopping down to the Trop for:

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002


Need a reason to get into the baseball season? Here are 10 dates worth bopping down to the Trop for:

TUESDAY VS. DETROIT: So they won't be playing for the John McHale Jr. Cup. It's still opening night, which means novelty, pageantry, ceremony and, for something completely different, a big crowd. And would you want to have to tell U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, why you missed his ceremonial first pitch?
MAY 3-6 VS. BOSTON: With a four-game series there's a pretty good chance you'll see Pedro Martinez pitch. Manny Ramirez vs. the catwalks could be pretty fun to watch too.
MAY 7-9 VS. YANKEES: The Tampa Bay season seems to officially start when the Yankees show up and thousands of fans (make) their way over the bridges from Tampa. They'll be back in July and again in September. The question is, where are these fans the rest of the season? Better yet, what happens when the Yankees are losing?
JUNE 2 VS. OAKLAND: It's Jason Tyner bobblehead doll day and, no, it's not true that this will be the first life-sized bobblehead given away.
JUNE 7-9 VS. SAN DIEGO: Tony Gwynn is no longer playing, but the Padres have an impressive collection of young talent and former Rays outfielder Bubba Trammell. Should we expect a return of the BUB-BA chants? Plus, June 9 is glove day for the kids.
JUNE 10-12 VS. LOS ANGELES: One of the leagues' most storied franchises makes its first appearance at the Trop. Back in the 1920s and '30s, the Dodgers held spring training in Clearwater. Heck, some of those fans might be in the crowd.
JULY 11-14 VS. SEATTLE: Just spend a whole game watching Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki and try not to be impressed. And it's always fun to have Lou Piniella around.
AUG. 13-15 vs. CLEVELAND: The Indians may not be the best team in the AL anymore, but they're still plenty popular around here and this is their only visit.
SEPT. 8 VS. TEXAS: Sure it will be football season again, but the Rays hope fans will be nodding in approval over the chance for a Toby Hall bobblehead doll. Plus, the Rangers will provide plenty of entertainment on their own.
SEPT. 22 VS. TORONTO: The Rays close out the home season against the Jays. If only we knew now what things will look like then.

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