Major League Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays Established: 1998
Tampa Bay Rays Ballpark: Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay Rays Owner: Stuart Sternbert
Tampa Bay Rays Manager: Joe Maddon
Tampa Bay Rays General Manager: Andrew Friedman
The Tampa Rays, originally called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, were founded in 1998. Based in Petersburg , FL , the Rays are a Major League Baseball franchise belonging to the Eastern Division of the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays have always played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg , FL. For a team that is just over a decade old, the Rays have already established a reputation of excellence. After the Rays won the 2008 Eastern Division title and American League Pennant, the Rays were the team to root for during the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Rays story began during the 1980's when civic leader and publisher of the St. Petersburg Times, Jack Lake , felt that the city needed its own MLB team. Using his influences in the sport, the first steps of petitioning for a team began and St. Petersburg was elevated from an MLB spring training locale to a candidate for its own team. Tropicana Field was built in 1990, long before a team was ever designated to its purpose, in hopes that a team would eventually manifest. In 1993 the MLB announced two expansion teams and Lake hoped one would be assigned to St. Petersburg but the city was passed up. In 1995 more expansion franchises were announced and this time they were awarded to Tampa Bay and Phoenix . The Devil Rays at that time, chose Chuck LaMar as the President of Baseball Operations as well as General Manager.
The Rays played their very first minor league game in 1996. The next year the team brought on their first manager, Larry Rothschild. Through the '97 expansion draft, the Rays acquired 35 new players, thus followed the Rays first MLB game in March of 1998. The Rays struggled to develop their new team, going through many managerial and player changes in the next half-decade. Then in 2008 the Rays unveiled new uniforms, new players, and a new outlook. They say seeing is believing and for the first time the Rays had a winning season. They fought their way to the World Series and lost honorably to the Phillies.
Now as the Rays head in to their 13 th season of baseball, let's hope 13 is a lucky number!
To find out more about the Rays check out MLB Rays.