On March 9, 1995, Tampa Bay was granted approval with an ownership group led by Vince Naimoli to establish a Major League Baseball team in the area. Then, in 1998 the Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first Major League Baseball season. In the first decade, the Devil Rays experienced consecutive tough seasons and even finished in last place in the American League East through 2007, apart from 2004 where they finished second-to-last. After the difficult 2007 season, Naimoli made the decision to change the franchise’s name from the “Devil Rays” to just the “Rays”.
Naimoli’s decision seemed to have set a new pace and chapter for the Rays Organization. In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays achieved more than just a winning season of 97 and 65, but an American League East Championship and an appearance in the World Series against the Phillies.
It was 25 years ago today that the Tampa Bay area was awarded a @MLB team, the #DevilRays. Happy 25th Birthday @RaysBaseball! ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/a0Tg3aHIwL
— Devil Rays Nostalgia Co. (@TampaBayDRays) March 9, 2020
In today’s time, the Tampa Bay Rays are celebrating their 25th birthday and the beginning of their 22nd season in Port Charlotte, Florida at their Spring Training camp with a match-up with Toronto Blue Jays and then a well-deserved off-day tomorrow. So far in the Grapefruit League camp, the Rays are 9 and 6 as they test through their line-ups and prepare for the start of the regular season.
The Rays home opener will take place on March 26 against the Pittsburg Pirates at Tropicana Field.