Tampa Bay Devil Rays Tickets
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Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The team play in the East Division of the American League. In 1998, the team was added as an expansion team to the league. Currently, Tropicana Field is the venue of home games of the team.
Shortly after the awarding of franchise in 1995, the Devil Rays began to build their organization. They named former Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Chuck LaMar the senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. The franchise's first minor league games took place in the 1996 season. Larry Rothschild was named the team's first manager on November 7, 1997. The team was successful in acquiring 35 players in the Expansion Draft on November 18, 1997.
The Devil Rays played their first game against the Detroit Tigers on March 31, 1998. A huge crowd of 45,369 enjoyed the game at Tropicana Field. Wilson Alvarez has the honor of throwing the first pitch and Wade Boggs hitting the first home run in team history that day. But there was a difficult time ahead. The Rays lost 11-6. The Devil Rays have yet to have a winning season since then. They finished in last place in the American League East every year from 1998 to 2003. Jose Canseco was signed prior to the 1999 season.
Wade Boggs tallied his 3000th career hit on August 7, 1999 and It was one of the most memorable moments in franchise history. After the season, Boggs announced his retirement. He is the only Devil Ray with his number retired. He has the honor of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Entering the 2004 season, Expectations were low for the team but the team surprised most baseball experts by finishing with the best record in team history, 70-91. The Devil Rays won 70 games in a season for the first time in the team history. They also finished in 4th place in the American League East. For the first time ever, they were out of last place. They were 10-28 in May when they started a run in which they won 30 of 40 games, including a team-record 12 games in a row.
After a 28-61 record at the All-Star Break in 2005, the Devil Rays turned it around in the second half of the season, going 39-34, for a final record of 67-95. Rocco Baldelli's entire 2005 season was missed due to his injury. Carl Crawford and newcomers Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes led a productive offense that finished third in the American League in team batting average.
Stuart Sternberg took over from Vince Naimoli as managing general partner shortly after the end of the season. The executive control of the team was in Sternberg's hands. Chuck LaMar, who had been the team's general manager since the team's first season, and most of the front office was immediately fired by Sternberg. Matt Silverman was named the team president, and the role of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations was given Andrew Friedman. Gerry Hunsicker, former General Manager of the Houston Astros, was named the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. He was also given the responsibility of advising the younger Friedman.
The change of ownership and the strong finish to the 2005 season infused the ray of optimism about the 2006 season among the Tampa Bay fans.The official attendance at Tropicana Field for the Rays' home opener was 40,199 on April 10, 2006,. It was recorded the highest turnout since the 1998 Inaugural Season home opener.
On April 26, aunfortunate event occurred when Delmon Young, playing for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, was ejected from the first inning of a game for arguing a third strike. He tossed his bat at the umpire, striking him in the chest protector. The umpire was not injured, but the next day, the International League suspended Young indefinitely. Young ultimately was suspended for 50 games without pay and he also had to perform 50 hours of community service.
The Devil Rays lost two players during the 2006 offseason. Cory Lidle died in an airplane crash in Manhattan on October 11. Erik Walker, a 23-year-old pitching prospect for the Hudson Valley Renegades died in a canoeing accident on the New River in Grayson County, Virginia.
The Devil Rays were successful in winning the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura on November 15, 2006. He was signed to a three-year, $7.7-million contract on December 15, and ultimately made the 2007 Opening Day active roster.
Frequently Asked Questions
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