11 fun facts about the Tampa Bay Rays

Take some time and learn about your local team. 

In the 1980s and 1990s local leaders tried to acquire an MLB baseball team before creating a new one. The Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners all considered moving to the Bay area before deciding to stay where they were.

Tropicana Field was built before The Rays were even a team in an effort to attract an MLB team. It was originally called the Florida Suncoast Dome, then the Thunderdome, and finally The Trop. 

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were featured in the movie about the brief but famous MLB player Jim Morris in The Rookie. Morris was a 35-year-old baseball coach who could pitch 98 miles per hour. He spent two seasons with The Devil Rays as a relief pitcher.

Although MLB didn’t come to Tampa Bay in the form of their own team for a while, more Major League Spring Training games have been played in St. Petersburg than any other city. The first being in 1913 when the Chicago Cubs moved their Spring Training from New Orleans to Tampa.

The Rays have three retired numbers 12 (Wade Boggs), 66 (Don Zimmer), and 42 (Jackie Robinson).


The Rays have adopted the term Rays Republic for their fan base.

The official mascot of The Rays is Raymond, a previously undiscovered species of dog known as "Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus" aka a Seadog. Seadogs live around the water and are known to chase catfish. 


Although Tropicana Field was built for baseball, the facility has hosted numerous sports including soccer, tennis, equestrian events and in 1996 it hosted Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Philadelphia Flyers and the newly formed Lightning. With a crowd of 28,183 people, it was the largest single-game attendance figure in NHL history.

A notable fan ritual involves a rallying around ‘DJ Kitty’ – a cat wearing a Rays jersey and using a DJ turntable.

In 2007 they changed their name from the “Devil Rays” to just “Rays”. Changing the meaning of the term “Ray” to mean a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray.

The Rays fittingly unveiled their official 1998 game uniforms during a special “fashion show” at The Florida Aquarium.
 


 


 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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