Spring Training is almost here and tickets are available for anyone wanting to check out a Ray’s game in Tampa.
You can get the upcoming schedule and purchase tickets here: Ray’s Schedule and Tickets
In case you were not up on the local history of the Rays and Tampa baseball . . . Minor League Baseball began in Tampa Bay in 1919, when Tampa became a charter member of the Class-D Florida State League. After finishing last the first year, Tampa went 89-28 in 1920, a .745 winning percentage which remains the best in FSL history. It was that year that the St. Petersburg Saints entered the FSL. By 1922, the Saints had won an FSL crown of their own, their first of seven to tie for the most in league history. Included in that impressive list is the championship won in 1958, when St. Petersburg became the only FSL team ever to win 100 games. St. Pete set an FSL attendance record in 1989, when it drew 202,383 as a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate. Among Tampa’s first-place FSL finishes was the title earned by the 1961 team, led by Reds farmhand Pete Rose, who set a still-existing FSL mark with 30 triples that year.
There was one other professional league in St. Petersburg prior to the Rays arrival in 1998. The Senior Professional Baseball Association-a league of former Major Leaguers who were 35 years of age or older-sprang up for one season, 1989-90. The St. Pete Pelicans were the first and only league champions.
The prolonged absence of a permanent Major League team in the area was not for a lack of effort. Tampa Bay actively pursued Major League baseball through expansion and made numerous attempts to lure an existing franchise.
That dogged pursuit lasted some 19 years. Along the way, it appeared a number of teams were headed for Tampa Bay: the Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants all seemed destined to move to the area. None did. In 1990, the Suncoast Dome was completed with the intent of attracting a baseball team. However, Major League Baseball expanded to Miami and Denver in 1991.
Still not defeated, Tampa Bay officials kept the area in the forefront and on March 9, 1995, the dream became reality. On that date, Vincent J. Naimoli, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anchor Industries International, headquartered in Tampa, and his entirely local ownership group were awarded an expansion franchise for Tampa Bay. The announcement came at the owners’ meetings in West Palm Beach. The vote among league owners was 28-0 to admit the Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks as the 13th and 14th expansion teams in Major League history. The reaction in the Tampa Bay area was one of pure ecstasy as the emotions of 13 years of disappointment were swept away.
The 2022 Tampa Bay Rays season was the 25th season of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise and their 15th as the Rays. The Rays played their home games at Tropicana Field as members of Major League Baseball‘s American League East Division.
On December 2, 2021, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred announced a lockout of players, following expiration of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). On March 10, 2022, the MLB and MLBPA agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, thus ending the lockout. Opening Day was played on April 7. Although MLB previously announced that several series would be canceled due to the lockout, the agreement provided for a 162-game season, with originally canceled games to be made up via doubleheaders.