Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays broke into baseball in 1998, although the team was originally known as the Devil Rays and occasionally panned for its colorful uniforms. For the first several years of its existence, the team dwelled at the bottom of the American League standings but over time, began to build a winner. Although the Rays haven't yet been able to win the World Series, the team often stays competitive in the ultra-tough American League East.
The Rays have played at Tropicana Field since their inception in 1998, although the stadium dates back to 1990 and hosted a variety of teams, including the NHL's Lightning, an Arena Football League game and several NCAA football events. The domed stadium's typical capacity is 34,078, but it can accommodate as many as 42,735 fans for baseball. Its features include its unique slanted roof, Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, rays tank and catwalk above the field that has occasionally made news for its interference with balls in play.
No World Series Championships
The Rays are among a handful of teams without a World Series title, although you can hardly hold that against them, given their short history. The team won the American League Pennant in 2008 and has made the postseason a total of four times, thanks to a pair of division titles and a pair of American League Wild Card Berths.
Tampa Bay Rays Roster
Wade Boggs is the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame who suited up for the Rays, although he entered Cooperstown as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Another member of the inaugural Rays season, Fred McGriff, is frequently close on the hall's ballots each year. In recent years, stars for the Rays have included Evan Longoria, David Price and Ben Zobrist. Up-and-coming stars include Wil Myers and Matt Moore.
The Rays play the home games on their Spring Training schedule at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL. The facility opened in 1987 and hosted the Texas Rangers between 1987 and 2002. The Rays have called the park home since 2002. The park, which has a capacity of 7,000, has been the host site of a handful of notable baseball moments. These include the retirement announcement of future hall of famer Nolan Ryan and the announcement of Alex Rodriguez signing the biggest contract in baseball history in 2000. The Rays Minor League Baseball affiliates are the Triple-A Durham Bulls, Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Advanced-A Charlotte Stone Crabs, Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, Short-Season A Hudson Valley Renegades and rookie league Gulf Coast League Rays, Venezuelan Summer League Rays and Dominican Summer League Rays.
The Ballpark Guide hasn't visited the Tampa Bay Rays yet, but hopes to in the near future. If you're excited to read a fan guide to the Tropicana Field, check out the many ways you can support The Ballpark Guide on future baseball road trips.