Flood Warning issued September 20 at 7:39AM EDT expiring September 22 at 8:00AM EDT in effect for: Manatee
After nearly six months of waiting, the gates at Tropicana Field finally opened again Monday.
Like in years past, the first couple hundred in line got to rub elbows with some of the big names on the Rays roster.
Some even got to fist pump Rays Owner Stu Sternberg.
"We take my daughter out and come every year. We just like the excitement – opening day is just magical. She gets out of school, it's an annual tradition for us," Matt Huebner said.
"I get to spend quality time with my dad," said Emmy, his daughter.
For the ninth consecutive year, the Tampa Bay Rays sold out its home opener.
The Rays hope to keep the momentum going.
During the off season, they spent more than $600,000 in renovations, adding a 360-degree walkway around the Trop, plus a new hangout spot in the outfield called The Porch.
"We do it for the people who show up. Whether it's 8,000, or today, 31,000," said Stu Sternberg, the owner. "We're here for the people who show up."
One of those fans who showed up came all the way from Arizona thanks to her fans on Twitter who helped raise money.
Randi Oomens became a diehard Rays fan in 2008 when multiple sclerosis stole her sight but not her spirit.
Ro, as she's known on Twitter, dreamed of one day experiencing a game in person.
"She has a great sense of humor, and she doesn't let anything get in her way, and we weren't going to let anything get in the way of getting her here," said Amanda Hebden, one of her friends on Twitter who helped make Ro's dream a reality.
The Rays learned about her story, gave her a jersey, and put up her entire group in a top-notch suite for the entire opening series.
"It's overwhelming," Ro said when she stepped foot in the suite.
She can feel the atmosphere and the energy. Her friends described the view the same way radio announcers Dave and Andy described the game.
"They taught me everything. They would describe a play and if I didn't quite understand it, then I would use my talking computer to go look it up online," she said.
You can find Ro on Twitter at @Raynaadi, where she posts frequent updates about her adventure at Tropicana Field.