11 Exciting Factoids About MLB’s Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays
MLB’s Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays rank as a favorite for many for countless reasons. While some are taken by its legacy, others are drawn in by the Tropicana Field, formerly known as the Florida Suncoast Dome or Thunderdome, which was built to beckon The Rays to the area. It’s well recognized that the Rays are one of the most colorful teams in baseball and it’s a fact that their faces are always painted for battle. However, there are some other facts that aren’t quite as well known.
- Did you know that the Tampa Bay Rays were featured in the film, ‘The Rookie’? MLB player Jim Morris, who had had a sparkling but brief career, was a 35-year-old baseball coach who was able to pitch 98 miles per hour. For two seasons, he was a relief pitcher for the Rays.
- Raymond is the official mascot of The Rays. Raymond was once identified as an undiscovered species of dog… a seadog by the name of “Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus.”
- DJ Kitty, a cat wearing a Rays jersey that uses a turntable, went viral in 2010. The black and white feline was featured on the MLB.com and Huffington Post sites and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times online. Of the cat, some spectators said, “It’s just too much for words. So awesome it hurts.” It’s a fan ritual to rally around DJ Kitty.
- While the stadium, Tropicana Field, was constructed for baseball, a host of other sports utilize the facility, including soccer, tennis, and equestrian events. In fact, in 1996, Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals took place at the arena, and visitors were able to watch Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers go toe-to-toe. With more than 26,183 people fans in attendance, it was the largest single-game attendance figure in NHL history.
- Local Tampa Bay leaders sought to acquire another MLB baseball team during the 1980s and 1990s before opting to create a new one, The Rays. According to reports, the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins, the Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Seattle Mariners were among the many considered for relocation to the Tampa Bay area.
- More MLB Spring Training games have been played in St. Petersburg than any other city. This is impressive considering the MLB didn’t arrive in Tampa Bay Rays until 2008.
- Following the conclusion of 2007, Stuart Sternberg, who then had the controlling interest in the team, changed the team’s name from “Devil Rays” to “Rays,” so that it would refer to the sunshine, rather than a manta ray.
- The Rays Republic, which is the moniker for the team’s fan base, has a host of notable fans and outrageous traditions.
- Once a year, the Rays hold a “cowbell night,” and free cowbells are giving away, meant to ring when the opposition’s batter has two strikes when the Rays make a good play, or when the opposing team’s fans chat. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg got the idea from the Saturday Night Live sketch.
- Frequently, Rays games receive visitors, who happen to be… wrestlers? In the past, The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags), Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan have made appearances during games. John Cena has also made numerous appearances.
- Since the 2008 World Series, the Rays players and coaches have taken to wearing mohawks during the playoffs.
Originally published at stephenoverton.info.