St. Petersburg, FL - Opening day was reason enough for a party, or in this case a"block party" in St. Petersburg.

The Rays have made some moves during the off season, anda lot of people think will give them a serious chance at going all the way this year.

But it all started with day one, whichfans celebrated with style.

The Mayor's opening day block party was a baseball blowout, complete with entertainment, dancing, food, games and more.

"Beautiful day for an opening game!" said Rays fan Robert Norton.

"This is good times, there's no doubt about it," said another fan nearby.

Rays supporters packed in by the thousands.

Real fans say they're anxious to see some familiar faces this season like David Price, who was the starting pitcher in today's opener, and all-star Evan Longoria.

But there are lot of newcomers too.

Rays fan Michelle Novel, who's been watching the Rays wheel and deal, thinks the team has done well.

"They've made some great moves in the off-season," she said.

The pre-game party saw its share of barbecue, beer and beads. There were bands playing, scalpers scalping, and Ferg's was packed.

Some folks were still in their work clothes -- taking an extended lunch -- or resigning themselves to taking the rest of the day off.

"For this I'll play hooky for half a day and come down here, no doubt about it," said rays fan Steve James.

Mayor Bill Foster says he was happy with the turnout, not to mention the chamber of commerce weather which didn't hurt either.

The Rays may talk about moving one day, but they could never go anywhere, said Foster, where they'd bemore loved or appreciated.

"I mean, if they go anywhere you're not going to have this kind of buzz and excitement," said Foster. "This whole community is well invested in the Tampa Bay Rays."

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