The Tampa Bay Rays just completed their 20th season in the major leagues.
The franchise has seen some tremendous highs and mighty lows over two decades as a major league franchise.
They had their inaugural season in 1998, which despite the lackluster performance, was a huge win for the region. Decades of lobbying had finally brought baseball to St Pete.
In 1999 there was Wade Boggs and his chase for 3,000, meanwhile Jose Canseco pummeled opposing pitching and was making a run for the home run record.
A year later, the Hit Show was launched as the Devil Rays brought in some of the top sluggers of the 90’s with the hopes of bringing a winning atmosphere to the Trop.
After realizing that didn’t work, the Devil Rays tanked...and tanked, and tanked some more en route to being perennially among the worst teams in baseball. They managed to lose 106 games during their 2002 campaign.
All of that losing only made what came next even sweeter. The team dropped the Devil and became a mainstay on contending for the American League East. They announced their presence by going from worst to first to become the American League champions in 2008, after which the team enjoyed winning records in 2009-13, with playoff appearances in three of those five seasons.
Now that shine as worn off and the Rays have just been kind of chugging along since their playoffs dismissal in 2013. But, with a strong core of players and extreme shakeup of the coaching staff, things may changed in 2018.
Over the next few months, we’ll be looking back at each season in the team’s history, highlighting the best and worse this franchise has had to offer.
To celebrate their 20 seasons in the majors, the Rays have some plans for the 2018 season, including a patch to be worn on their jerseys and a commemorative coffee table book looking back on the team’s history. This is just what we know so far, but during the off-season, the Rays will be announcing even more they’ll be doing to celebrate.
And DRaysBay has plans as well. We’ll be reviewing each of the past twenty seasons, with a new installment each Monday, starting on October 16.