With their backs against the wall, the Tampa Bay Rays are coming home to fend off the swarming Boston Red Sox on Monday and fans are mustering support before the game on Central Avenue, adjacent to Tropicana Field.
The first pitch is scheduled for delivery at 6:07 p.m. and the rally begins at 3:30 p.m.
City officials say the public is invited to attend the free street party, prior to the game.
Ferg's, the iconic Rays sports bar located at 1320 Central Ave., will serve as the center of the party.
Music, beads and free stuff will be featured during the rally, and fans can snap photos of themselves with giant heads of players, mascot Raymond and DJ Kitty.
Food and drinks will be dished at Ferg's.
The city will close Central Avenue to traffic from 13th Street to 15th Street beginning at 2 p.m.
To continue their post season run, the Rays will have to take the next three games from Boston. If the Rays win Monday, they will play Tuesday night at the Trop.
The city offered these tips for fans heading to the game on Monday:
* Parking. Fans will be able to find parking, either at the stadium of throughout downtown. Detailed on-site parking information is available at www.raysbaseball.com. If the stadium parking lots fill, fans can navigate to one of the 74 approved lots located within a half mile of the Trop. Those lots are marked with a capital “P” and the lot number. Fans are urged to park at legitimate lots. Attendants should be in uniform and provide a receipt. Officials warn fans against parking in unattended or otherwise unofficial lots.
Parking also is available in the South Core garage, at 100 First Ave. S., for a flat rate of $5. Alternative and overflow parking will be available at the BayWalk garage, 117 Second St. N., at the normal weekday rate of $1 per hour with a $6 daily maximum.
* Shuttle. A free shuttle is available to get baseball fans from downtown parking areas to the stadium and back again after the game.
Shuttle stops are just outside the South Core garage on Second Street between Central Avenue and First Avenue South; and outside Tropicana Field on 16th Street just south of Third Avenue South. Shuttles with disability accommodations, including vehicles with wheelchair lifts, also are available.
Shuttles begin running 90 minutes before the start of the game and end service one hour after the final inning. Shuttles run approximately every 10 minutes.