As the 2011 baseball season nears conclusion, so too does a popular tradition associated with baseball on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Since 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays have held their annual “Summer Concert Series” to attract fans to professional baseball. This year’s slate of performances was a resounding success and bodes well for a continuation of this area attraction in years to come.
Sports fans in Southwest Florida are blessed to have great access to nearby baseball. The region hosts two minor league franchises in the Florida State League. Both the Fort Myers Miracle and the Charlotte Stone Crabs offer a quality product and affordable pastime for baseball aficionados and those new to the game.
Though Fort Myers and Port Charlotte may not be big league towns, the region does have easy access to big-time baseball. Southwest Florida sits halfway between the markets for both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins. A two hour drive north or south is all that stands between local residents and Major League Baseball.
The “Summer Concert Series” is an extra incentive for Southwest Florida to support the Rays. Each year, the team schedules a group of Saturday home games, which feature a postgame concert by a popular recording artist. The price of the show is included in the cost of the baseball ticket, which is sold for only a few dollars more than an average weekday game.
Fans throughout Tropicana Field can view the concert from their baseball seats. The stage is set up in centerfield and the big screen scoreboard enables fans to get a closer look. Additionally, attendees can purchase wristbands that allow music junkies to get up close and watch from the turf of the outfield.
The diverse 2011 lineup featured eight acts, which offered a choice for nearly every age group and musical taste: 1970s rockers REO Speedwagon, former Hootie and the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker, pop star Avril Lavigne, children’s act The Wiggles, 1980s all-girl band The Go Go’s, 1990s band The Goo Goo Dolls, iCarly teen sensation Miranda Cosgrove, and country siren Miranda Lambert.
This year the Rays went 5-3 on Summer Concert Series gamedays. That brings their four year record for these occasions to a stunning 30-6, as the team undoubetedly benefits from the energy of 30,000+ crowds at Tropicana Field.
Live music and winning baseball certainly makes the Summer Concert Series worth the trip!
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