10/28/09 2:42 PM ET
Tuskers bring UFL football to the Trop
Florida franchise to play Las Vegas Locomotives on Friday
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Bollinger and the Tuskers worked out at the home of the Rays on Wednesday morning in advance of their United Football League game against the Las Vegas Locomotives on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
The Rays own a minority piece of the Tuskers, who moved to 3-0 on the season with a win over the California Redwoods on Oct. 22 in front of a crowd of 12,021 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Friday night will be the Tuskers' lone game played at the Trop in their inaugural season.
Wednesday morning saw Tropicana Field dressed up to be a football field with the necessary 100 yards with one end zone being on the third-base side of the field and the other in front of the right-field stands.
Tuskers coach and former NFL coach Jim Haslett said he thought his team was "excited" about its opportunity to play at Tropicana Field. Wednesday's workout wasn't the first time Haslett has been to the Trop. He threw out a pitch prior to a game this season and got to meet and chat with always-personable Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"I'm fond of [the Rays] manager," Haslett said. "Pennsylvania guy."
Haslett said coaching the Tuskers has brought a nice change of scenery for him from the NFL and that he has enjoyed coaching players who are hungry to try and to get back in the NFL or reach the NFL for the first time.
"I think we've got some pretty good football players," Haslett said.
Notable players on the Tuskers' roster include former NFL players Matt Bryant, Dan Buenning, Michael Pittman, and Dexter Jackson, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXVII.
The UFL was developed with the idea of fulfilling the unmet needs of football fans in major markets currently underserved by professional football by providing a high quality traditional football league comprised of world class professional football players. The USF has stated that one of its goals is to provide every fan with an affordable, accessible, exciting and entertaining game experience.
Friday night's game will kick off at 7 ET. In addition to getting to see a football game, Tuskers fans will also get to see Grammy-nominated rock band Switchfoot perform in concert following the game.
Tickets start at just $15 and are available at ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster Charge by Phone (1-800-745-3000), Ticketmaster Outlets, and Tropicana Field Gate 1 Box Office. For discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more, fans should call (727) 342-5777.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.