Tampa Bay Rays

2003 Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays make Tropicana Field, in St. Petersburg, Florida, their home. The Devil Rays became a member of the American League East and played their first game on March 31, 1998, an 11-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Wilson Alverz was the opening day pitcher for the Devil Rays. The first game at Tropicana Field was a sellout, with 45,369 tickets sold. Though sporting a talented line-up, the Devil Rays Baseball Club has yet to reach the post season since its inception. In their young history, the Devil Rays have developed a rivalry with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees and the Red Sox are two of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball and many Yankee and Red Sox fans reside in the Devil Rays' hometown. Besides the Devil rays, the fans in the Tampa Bay area have NFL football's Buccaneers and NHL hockey's Lightning to cheer for.

In the Devil Rays' short tenure in Major League Baseball, there have been a few events that have made history in the record books. The Devilrays, on April 1, 1998, notched their first win against the Detroit Tigers. The Devil Rays are the only expansion baseball team to be 4 games over .500 at any point in their inaugural season. Rolando Arrojo became the second rookie from an expansion team to be named to an All-Star and the first Cuban pitcher since Luis Tiant in 1976. Wade Boggs, as a member of the Devil Rays, was the first player to reach 3,000 hits with his home run on August 7, 1999. On April 7, 2000 the Devil Rays hosted the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field and this game marked the first time a professional baseball game was played on field turf, artificial turf that has the characteristics of natural grass. On June 2, 2000, Fred McGriff became the 31st player to reach 400 home runs. The first no-hitter in Devil Ray history was thrown by Doug Waechter, although this was done in the minor leagues. The Devil Rays also have had on their roster the lowest selected player ever to reach the big leagues, Travis Phelps, who was selected in the 89th round. On May 21, 2002 Joe Kennedy became the first Devilray pitcher to throw a complete game, breaking a Major League record of 186 straight games without a complete game pitched.

Although the Devil Rays have finished 5th, last, in their first five seasons, the hiring of Manager Lou Piniella, a two-time American League Manager of the Year, makes the future of the Devil Rays seem bright. Note: Though commonly spelled Devilrays, the correct spelling of the teams name is Devil Rays.


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