Tampa Bay Rays, April 9th-11th: The Rays have been slashing payroll like a Friday the 13th film, and haven’t spent much on new additions. In fact, they were included in a player’s union grievance due to their lack of spending. However, they still have some up-and-coming young players, solid veterans, and a still-tough pitching staff headed by Chris Archer. Most of the opening weekend crowd will be gone by then, so if you can make it out during the week, take a peek at a team that I believe will be more competitive than many think.
Tickets should be pretty readily available. Large groups of fans don’t typically venture out to see Tampa Bay play at Tropicana Field, and the team tends to get a similar treatment on the road. Don’t forget, the Wednesday afternoon game is also $1 hot dog day!
Seattle Mariners, April 23rd-25th: I’ve always enjoyed games against Seattle. The Sox always seem to be competitive at home against the Mariners. I saw greats like Ken Griffey, Jr. as a young fan and watched Ichiro go five for five in Chicago on his way to the single-season hits record in 2004. Plus, Seattle built something this offseason with the potential to be unbelievably good in 2018. This is not to mention all three games have promotions: Dog day 4/23, White Sox wall calendar 4/24, and, you guessed it, $1 hot dog day Wednesday 4/25!
Texas Rangers, May 17th-20th: There are not likely to be any pitcher’s duels when the Rangers come to town in May. Texas has signed what feels like a Rick Hahn-esque amount of starters this offseason, but most are value deals, not headliners. Any excuse to see future hall-of-famer Adrian Beltre is a legitimate one. Oh, and Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor are some strong dudes who only know how to swing for the fences. Souvenirs aplenty. Plus, T-shirt giveaway Thursday, fireworks Friday, and family Sunday.