Tampa Bay Rays were probably the most surprising major league sports franchise in 2008.
The World Series finally came to the Englewood neighborhood! Our Tampa Rays captured the 2008 American League Pennant and headed to a MLB showdown with the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, the Rays were unsuccessful in their quest to capture the World Series, but there will be more opportunities for the boys from Tampa.
That was the scene in the autumn of 2008 as baseball Tampa Bay team stunned not only the baseball world, but the entire sports world by capturing the American League pennant for the first time in the history of this Florida baseball franchise.
The Rays have not enjoyed a lot of success during their time as a Major League Baseball franchise.
At a meeting on March 9, 1995 in West Palm Beach, Florida, Major League Baseball owners vote 28-0 to accept the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks as the newest entries into Major League Baseball.
A little more than a month later, on April 17, 1995, the Devil Rays and the City of St. Petersburg sign a contract on a 30 year lease for the Thunder Dome as the home field for the Devil Rays. Before they played their first game under the roof of the Thunder Dome, on October 3, 1996, the structure received a new name, Tropicana Field.
The new moniker for the field was the result of an agreement reached by the city of St. Petersburg, the Devil Rays and Tropicana Dole Beverages of Bradenton Florida.
On October 15, 1997 the expansion baseball Tampa Bay Devil Rays were placed in the American League Eastern Division with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
On February 15, 1998, the Devil Rays opened their very first spring training camp.
March 31, 1998, the Devil Rays played their first regular season American League baseball game. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the expansion Devil Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers 11-6.
Over the years there have been some interesting characters don the Devil Rays uniform. Some of these players included Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, and Fred McGriff.
We have enjoyed many games at Tropicana Field. While some people complain about the "Trop", Judy and I always enjoy ourselves there.
But they have also had to share a division with the perennial powerhouse New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox teams. Then add in two other strong baseball franchises the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. So no matter how things have shaken out for the Tampa Bay Rays they have had to contend with not one, but four potential powerhouse contenders in a five team division. So now you know why the Rays success in 2008 was so phenomenal!
An interesting note about the team prior to the beginning of the 2008 season the team changed its name from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the Tampa Bay Rays. Umm, I wonder!
If you are headed to Tropicana Field to take part in the festivities and cheer on the Tampa Bay Rays to victory, I have posted our favorite driving route to a baseball game at Tropicana Field. It will take about 1 ½ hours to cover about 65 miles between Englewood and the baseball stadium.
Drive safely and GO, RAYS, GO!
Next stop - Tropicana Field!
Great Major League Baseball action, the Tampa Bay Rays, so close to your vacation and retirement destination, you just "gotta" Enjoy Englewood Florida!