When one goes to Tropicana Field this baseball season, he may notice that there is a new seating area in the left field called Landing 162. This special seating area, which also includes a public accessible area, is dedicated to Evan Longoria’s homerun in Game 162 that sent the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2011 playoffs.
On September 28th, 2011, the Rays needed a win to tie the Red Sox for a wild card spot (which would mean that there would be a Game 163) or win the game while the Red Sox lost in order to go to the playoffs. If the Rays lost, they would be going home. That night, the New York Yankees quickly gained a 7-0 lead over the Rays while the Red Sox were leading 3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles. Then the Red Sox-Orioles game went into a rain delay while in Tampa, Longoria hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, making it 7-6. In the ninth inning, with two outs and two strikes, Dan Johnson (batting .108) hit a homerun, sending the game into extra innings. After the rain delay, Nolan Reimold of the Orioles (in the ninth inning with two outs and two strikes) ties the game with Boston. Then Robert Andino hits toward left field where former Ray Carl Crawford misplays the ball, allowing the Orioles to score a run, winning the game. As the Red Sox players headed back to their locker room, they got to watch Longoria hit a homerun; a homerun that caused the Rays to win over the Yankees in extra innings. The ball was hit in the left corner, over a fence that was lowered years ago to allow Crawford to rob teams out of homeruns.
That night is considered by many to be the most exciting night in baseball history, so it is no surprise that the Rays’ organization created an area that the Rays’ fans can re-live forever. The public area, located in Left Field Street, includes several quotes from sports media on how special that night was and a time line of events that took place at the Rays vs. Yankees game at Tropicana Field and the Orioles vs. Red Sox game that was going on at Camden Yards. There is also a graph that compares the Rays and Red Sox on their probabilities of making the playoffs, a funny sight since the Red Sox had a 99% chance of going to the playoffs at one point that night. In the future, the ball that Longoria hit the homerun off of will be placed on exhibit there. In right field, there is a white seat commemorating where Dan Johnson hit his homerun in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. It is section 140, seat 10, row T.