MLB Extra Innings

MLB Extra Innings
Tampa Bay Rays Team Page

Tampa Bay Rays

Team Name: Tampa Bay Rays
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
American League
» Team History  » Team Schedule  » Team Website

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2008 Tampa Bay Rays Schedule

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Tampa Bay Rays History

An expansion franchise, the club was founded in St. Petersburg in 1998. They are one of four teams never to have played in a World Series, the others being the Texas Rangers, the Washington Nationals, and the Seattle Mariners. They are the only team to have never made it to the playoffs, having finished in last place in every season of their existence, with the exception of 2004, when they finished fourth in their division. Although the Rays are one of baseball's youngest franchises, the Tampa Bay area has had a long history in professional baseball dating back to 1913. It was then that the Chicago Cubs moved their spring training site to the city of Tampa. St. Petersburg became a spring training host for the first time in 1922 when the Boston Braves came to town. Since that time, more major league spring training games have been played in St. Petersburg than any other city.

New uniforms for the 2008 season were officially revealed on November 8, 2007. The unveiling coincides with a name change for the team, as the team is now officially called the "Tampa Bay Rays". The TV and radio game broadcasters already referred to the team as the "Rays" more often than "Devil Rays". The new team colors are "navy, Columbia blue and a touch of gold". The new team logo features a bright yellow sunburst that represents the Sunshine State of Florida. In the original press release, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said "We are now the 'Rays' - a beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida."

The Rays front office has promised to increase the team's payroll for the coming season. Whereas it is currently around $24 million, the "mid-30s" has been rumored as a minimum for 2008. While the Rays may begin the 2008 season with much the same lineup that ended the 2007 season, several key trades or free agent signings may be in the works. The Rays are reportedly looking for a shortstop, a veteran catcher, and veteran pitching. The Rays traded Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. The Rays signed a one-year deal with veteran relief pitcher Troy Percival who will act as the closer, moving Al Reyes into a role as a set-up man. The Rays signed Cliff Floyd who will split time at designated hitter and right field. If outfielder Rocco Baldelli is finally healthy, the Rays will have to find a place for him, and with top third-base prospect Evan Longoria and shortstop Reid Brignac quickly advancing through the organization, either could jump into the fray. The Rays also signed the #1 pick in the draft last year, pitcher David Price, who was widely recognized as one of the top players in college baseball.

As they did during the 2007 season, the Rays may play a regular season home series at Champion Stadium in Orlando in 2008. Their April series against the Toronto Blue Jays seems a likely candidate, and neither the MLB nor the Blue Jays (who are 10-17 at Tropicana Field over the previous three seasons) have resisted the idea.

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