ST. PETERSBURG — Ushers and vendors roamed Tropicana Field in their neon green “162 Strong” T-shirts Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles faced off in the regular season finale, the Rays’ last game of 2012. There was drama, but nothing truly on the line for Tampa Bay. In the end it was just a game, and the Rays won, 4-1.
The most meaningful moment may have come in the bottom of the eighth, when B.J. Upton stepped to the plate for what was likely his final at-bat as a Ray. The crowd of 17,909 rose to its feet and Upton responded by lacing a single to left-center field. Manager Joe Maddon replaced him with pinch-runner Rich Thompson, and the crowd remained on its feet as Upton, now a free agent, left the game. He tipped his helmet to them and entered the dugout with tears in his eyes.
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