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Buckhorn to make pitch for the Rays (at tonight’s game)

Posted Jun 27, 2011 by Christian M. Wade

Updated Jun 27, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Mayor Bob Buckhorn is expected to make his most public pitch yet for the Tampa Bay Rays—at tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Buckhorn will throw the ceremonial opening pitch at Tropicana Field, his first since taking office and at a time when the debate over whether the Major League Baseball team should move from its longtime home in St. Petersburg to Tampa is swirling among fans and in local political circles.

Buckhorn has been careful not to thrust himself into the debate, saying he has no intentions of trying to lure the Rays away from Tropicana Field. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has said he will fight any efforts to move the Rays from his city.

Former Mayor Pam Iorio threw the opening pitch at several Rays games, including one this March when she caught some flack from the team’s manager, Joe Maddon, for wearing a Yankees spring jersey.

Tonight’s game, which begins at 7:10 p.m. is the opener in a three-game interleague series between the two teams, which haven’t met since Cincinnati swept a three-game set from the Rays in 2005.