ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Be it during the playoffs or the regular season, Rays fans since 2005 have been treated to the skills of one particular fan outside Tropicana Field for almost fifteen years: bucket drummer Chris Harris.
- Harris a former school drum teacher
- Performances have become a tradition for Rays fans
- Find Chris Harris on Facebook, YouTube
- More Pinellas County stories
The smack of the bat, the crowd goes wild — those were the sounds inside Tropicana Field Monday as the Rays kept their playoff run alive with a 10-3 win over the Houston Astros.
Outside the stadium, the energy is the same, as Chris Harris helps drum up even more excitement with the fans.
“People will just stop in their tracks. He will take their mind off everything else,” said Christen Harris, Chris’ wife.
Be it after a loss or in tonight’s case a season-saving win, every performance has a point.
“When they leave, I have them scream, ‘Go Rays, go Rays!'" said Harris, a professional bucket drummer. "Just that feeling from the beginning of the show to the end of the show, they’re still here at the ballgame.”
The former school drum teacher decided to take up street performing full-time 23 years ago, performing gigs all over the Tampa Bay Area and the country.
But he found a home outside of the Trop in 2005.
“As a street performer, you only have the amount of energy that the crowd is giving you, and Rays fans always deliver for us,” said Christen.
Since then, his performances have become tradition for many Rays fans, almost as much as the game itself.
“I’ve been here for 14 years now, and I have kids that saw me years ago that are now grown-ups with their kids and they’re like, ‘Yeah we used to come see you when I was a kid,’" said Harris. "So that whole generational ‘Let’s pass down the good times,’ it’s happening here at the Rays, and I just love being a part of that.”
And regardless of the outcome of this season, the song remains the same.
“As long as the Rays are here, I want to be here,” said Harris.