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Family continues decades-long tradition at Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day

Family continues decades-long tradition at Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day
Family continues decades-long tradition at Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day 02:05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Tampa Bay Now) - Thursday marks a special day for baseball fans as the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Detroit Tigers in their opening day game at tropicana field. Fans are excited to see their favorite team take the field including one family with a longstanding relationship with the Rays. The team is celebrating 25 years of major league baseball this year.

"We're here to see the Rays on opening day baby, Woo," shouted a group of Rays fans outside of gate 6. Fans were eager before first pitch Thursday to celebrate the beginning of a fresh season of baseball in Tampa Bay.With last season's MLB lockout in the past, forever fans gathered from every direction in St. Petersburg. But one family of fans in particular travelled over an hour to continue a long-standing family tradition.

Die hare since 1998," said Josh Smith. "This is Carter and I'm trying to introduce him to baseball the same way my late grandfather did in 1998 when I was a kid. So, we took him last year… now we're ready to do it again." Josh says his grandfather had a love for baseball that came second to none. He was a die-hard Cubs fan as well and waited 91 years for them to win a world series. They won just two weeks before he passed away. "This place is special. I think about him every time I walk in here. It breaks my heart to think about them tearing this building down in a few years. And now I'm trying to repeat that with young carter here. [Also] brought my mother along who's a 'Detroiter'."

"I have a lot of memories of my childhood, sitting with my grandfather and my dad in front of the tv at my grandma's house watching Tiger baseball," said Lisa Bendel who is a Detroit fan and Carter's Nana.

So, geared up from head to toe and regardless of which team they're representing, they're ready to "Rays up" in the name of the family baseball tradition.

The players are determined to give their all on the field, and fans are hoping for an exciting game to kick off the season.

Josh "If you go inside my man cave, you can't even really see the walls anymore there's so much stuff. And one day, his room will probably be the same."

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