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Why I'm a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays

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There’s not much of my life I can remember before the Rays were part of it!

Jose Canseco #33

To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we're sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you'd like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. SB Nation will be collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across the network.

How did I become a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays?

For me it was a simple as having a father who was a transplant to Florida, and whose father in law was a longtime Braves fan. There was no adopting the Marlins when my dad moved to the sunshine state, but when an AL team appeared, we were all in.

It was a two-hour drive from the Space Coast, but we made it happen, heading over to the dreary confines of the early days in the Trop, despite the lack of lighting. If we were in luck, our friends with a camper would be willing to drive, and we got television on the long stretch of I-4. It felt like the height of luxury.

Also to my benefit was being nine years old when the Rays debuted, the same season that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were entrenched in their home run arms race. As a kid, it was thrilling to follow, and ignited my love of sports writ large. 1998 was the perfect year for baseball (even though the Yankees won the series that year).

That’s my story, and I’d love to hear yours. Reminder: To be considered for the gift card, it has to be a FanPost!

You might notice someone got a head start... that’s because I pitched this same writing prompt two weeks ago! Sorry about that... but now’s your chance to get in on the action!

Required disclaimer time! Please read the full Official Rules for the Contributor Sweepstakes.

TL;DR: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Contributor Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to authorized SB Nation contributors who are legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.

Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Devils Rays

Go Rays!