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Three Tampa Bay teams draw well on Saturday night

in Sports/The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As it turns out, no one was keeping score at at home.

Saturday night, everyone was at the ballpark.

As an area, Tampa Bay gets beaten up a lot. But three games on Saturday night drew a total of 44,437 fans which, as things go, wasn’t a terrible night at the turnstiles.

The Rays, surprisingly, won the night with 19,772 fans, their fourth-largest crowd of the year behind Opening Night and two games against the Yankees. The team won its’ fourth straight game, which might have had something to do with the turnout. The Rays pulled into first place with the win.

The Lightning might have sold more tickets that that, but the building holds only 19,204. Still, who is going to complain about a sellout?

The Tampa Bay Rowdies drew 5,461 fans to its victory over Jacksonville despite both of the other games being on television.

No, the Bucs didn’t play. But with the No. 1 draft pick this week, its crowds could be on the upswing as well.

As usual, attendance in Tampa Bay is an ongoing story. The Rays are in their fourth season of finishing last, and the Bucs haven’t drawn as well in their streak of non-playoff seasons. The Lightning generally sells out its games.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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