The Tampa Bay Rays look like a team with a chance to eke out a winning season this year, but we’re not holding our breath for a top showing against the other heavy hitters of the AL East. Manny Ramirez has a good history, but the last couple seasons have not been his strongest showings, and other players, including Desmond Jennings and BJ Upton, are unreliable. Will the Tampa Bay Rays make MLB history in 2011? Probably not, but they do have a couple reasons to hope since the signings of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon in the offseason. So while baseball fans in Tampa may not be bringing home the AL East Championship this year, there’s still a lot of good reasons to get out to Tropicana Field and cheer on the home team!
The Tampa Bay Rays, formerly Devil Rays, were part of baseball’s last round of expansion. They played their first game in 1998 and were an immediate draw in Tampa Bay. The highlight of those early years was when hometown hero Wade Boggs became the 22nd player to reach 3,000 hits and the first to do so with a homerun.
In an effort to shake things up Tampa Bay dropped the “Devil” from their team name prior to the 2008 season. Now known simply as the Tampa Bay Rays they hope to have finally exorcised their losing ways. With a young and exciting team this might be the year it happens. However, playing in the super competitive American League East against teams like the Red Sox and Yankees makes this an especially difficult challenge.
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