Enthusiastic crowd on hand for Rays' opener

Enthusiastic crowd on hand for Rays' opener

ST. PETERSBURG -- Excited fans were lined up outside Tropicana Field's center-field rotunda three hours prior to Sunday's Opening Day contest between the Rays and Blue Jays.

Rays players in uniform greeted the group, including a smiling Erasmo Ramirez, who could easily transition to professional greeter once his playing days are over.

Also pressing the flesh and talking to the fans were Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg, team president Brian Auld and president of baseball operations Matt Silverman.

BK Jackson performs anthem

The fans' message to Sternberg: "We're behind you, Stu."

Once the Blue Jays were introduced along the third-base line, the sellout crowd offered loud ovations for Rays players, coaches and manager Kevin Cash.

Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria easily received the most enthusiastic cheers.

Tampa Bay area saxophonist B.K. Jackson performed the Star-Spangled Banner and "O Canada," and first-pitch duties went to "Norm" -- actor George Wendt III, best known for his role on the hit television series, "Cheers," which ran on NBC for 11 seasons.

At 4:09 p.m. ET, Archer delivered the first pitch against the Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar, and the Rays' 2016 season was underway.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.