ST. LOUIS -- David Price hadn't watched a game from the stands since he was a teenager until he and some of his teammates walked into Busch Stadium on Sunday night in St. Louis.
Having arrived in town from Minneapolis, Price and around nine other Rays players arrived for the Cardinals-Dodgers game in the top half of the seventh inning.
"I wanted to be a fan at a baseball game," Price said. "I don't think I've been to a Major League baseball game in the stands to be a fan since I was 12, 13 years old. It's more than half of my life ago that I got to sit in the stands and just watch a Major League baseball game."
Price and his teammates had planned to watch the game on a big screen across from the ballpark, but they were able to come in the gate. They turned down an offer from stadium personnel to look for tickets or a suite for the players to sit in. Instead, they settled into the third row in Big Mac Land among Cardinals fans.
It was there -- then at a St. Louis restaurant and prevalent on Twitter -- that Price continued to hear trade speculation. The Cardinals have been one of many teams tied to Price in trade talks.
Had a bud light, ate some peanuts, and did the wave!!! I was a great fan and stayed the rest of the game!!! pic.twitter.com/P5X3ayPDrt- David Price (@DAVIDprice14) July 21, 2014
"That's usually when I hear the trade speculation of what teams it could be," Price said. "I wake up the next day and I'll have a new fan base tweeting me and trying to get me to come to their organization. The people here are extremely nice."
With the non-waiver Trade Deadline sitting only nine days out on July 31, Price's name has continued to pop up in rumors. The Rays, who once sat 18 games below .500, had surged within six games of the mark when they arrived in St. Louis.
"If it was a done deal beforehand, it's definitely a very tough decision for them to make now," Rays starter Alex Cobb said. "I think winning right now trumps everything else. If that's setting up for a possible better team in 2018, I think winning right now trumps that."
Yet the speculation has continued as the Rays have worked back from a disastrous start to the season in what has appeared to be a winnable American League East.
Cobb, who has been with the organization since 2006, said he would understand if management chooses to move players before the Deadline.
"I've seen how the organization has been run since I've been here," Cobb said. "I've seen the way they've operated, I've seen the different crops of guys come through the Minor Leagues that we've gotten through trades. I would absolutely understand it, but the front office would believe that this was the best decision to be made for our organization now and going forward. Players play, front office makes up the team and you play with what you've got."
Price said he doesn't read the articles because what happens is out of his control, but he said if he were to be traded and had his pick, there would be some teams he'd rather be traded to than others.
His manager said Tuesday, he doesn't address trade rumors with players.
"I'm not the GM, so anytime I'm speaking like that I'm speaking for the GM," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm not that guy. I'm really careful what I say to the guys regarding certain moments, i.e. this one, because I could only complicate it."
Whether Price will eventually pitch in another uniform, he was simply happy Sunday night to watch the game from a new vantage point.
"The game looks a lot slower from the stands," Price said. "[The Cardinals] had [Trevor] Rosenthal, he was throwing 99 [mph], it looked like he was throwing 59. I can definitely see how fans can moan and groan out there because it looks so easy and the game looks a lot slower. I even jumped up when somebody hit a fly ball to left and it was about a 250-foot fly ball and I thought it was a homer. I definitely see how people get really excited for fly balls."
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.