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Tampa Bay Rays Tickets

Tampa Bay Rays

League: American League (AL)

Division: AL East

Stadium: Tropicana Field (capacity 42,735)

Manager: Kevin Cash (2015-present)

Star Players: Zachary Eflin (pitcher), Shane McClanahan (pitcher), Josh Lowe, Yandy Diaz 

2022-23 Regular Season: 99-63 (Text in AL East)

2023 Postseason: American League Wild Card (defeated 2-0 by the Texas Rangers

Legendary Former Players: Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Kevin Kiermaier, David Price (pitcher), Ben Zobrist, James Shields (pitcher), Carlos Pena 

World Series Titles: 0

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays arrived on the scene in 1995 after many years of efforts to bring major league baseball to Tampa, joining the city’s new NHL hockey expansion team, the Tampa Bay Lightning as well as its long established NFL franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team began life as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a popular nickname for the huge mantas that school in large numbers in the shoals off the Florida coast. The stadium actually contains actual manta rays in a large aquarium where fans can see the animals and even participate in lessons with biologists to learn more about them. Out of the tanks and onto the field, the Devil Rays lived up to the shape of the fish that had inspired their name, becoming the doormats of the AL East division throughout their first decade in the league, finishing dead last in all but one season (when they finished second to last). Not only did the Devil Rays fail to break .500, but their “best” season, in 2004, was a mere .435 (70-91), with their performance hampered by a cast of green youngsters and aging stars past their prime. It was not until the arrival of manager Joe Maddon in 2006 that the team’s fortunes finally began to swing around, boosted by the stirling talents of Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria along the way. In 2008, with new uniforms and a rebrand as the Tampa Bay Rays, the team shocked the baseball world by going 97-65 to claim the AL East division despite never having finished above 4th previously. The Rays went one further by dispatching the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS before taking on the Boston Red Sox in an epic seven game ALCS by winning 3-1 in the deciding game in front of a packed Tropicana Field. The World Series proved to be a step too far for the Rays, as they were pushed aside easily in five games by the surging Philadelphia Phillies. Nevertheless, the team seemed to gain momentum in the years that followed, making four appearances in the postseason between 2010 and 2019 (progressing no further than the ALDS) before going on a memorable playoff run in the COVID-shortened season of 2020. As a Wild Card team, the Rays blanked the Toronto Blue Jays before eking out an ALDS win over the New York Yankees with a 2-1 victory in the Game Five decider after a home run by Mike Brosseau in the 8th inning. The ALCS was not any easier, going to a Game Seven after the Houston Astros battled back from being down three games to zero. No MLB team has ever lost a series after holding a 3-0 lead in a playoff series and the Rays narrowly averted becoming the first notation in this column of the history books with a narrow 4-2 win to pip the Astros and win the pennant. The Rays, no doubt exhausted by their exertions in the long journey to get there, managed to put up a decent fight against the Los Angeles Dodgers, twice leveling the series before being undone by two narrow defeats in Games Five and Six. The manager who got them to the World Series, local Tampa boy Kevin Cash, has continued to lead the team ever since, getting the Rays to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons (alas, without further success). Baseball fans in Tampa will no doubt be heading into 2024 expecting big things from their team, no doubt thinking in the backs of their minds that if their team could just get into one more World Series but with fans in the stadiums this time, maybe (just maybe) they could lift their Rays to a first championship in the years to come.

Tampa Bay Rays Rivalries

For such a new team (and one that spent its first decade as bottom feeders), the Tampa Bay Rays have developed a fair few rivalries, the most heated of which are with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Their enmity with the Yankees stems from an incident in 2020 when Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman threw at Mike Brosseau’s head in the regular season and received a suspension (a brawl was probably only staved off by the teams’ awareness of strict COVID rules at the time). Brosseau got his own back in the ALDS, taking Chapman deep in the 8th inning to win the series for the Rays. The rivalry with the Red Sox is even more heated, dating back to a mass brawl sparked by Pedro Martinez hitting Gerald Williams with a fast ball (followed by two more big hits: Williams hitting Martinez with an impressive right hook punch and Martinez hitting the ground). Numerous bench-clearing brawls have occurred in the years since, stoked by divisional and playoff battles as well as physical intimidation and revenge. The Rays have a slightly friendlier rivalry with their cross-state National League ocean dwellers, the Miami Marlins.  

While their much-deplored fixed dome stadium has left fans in Tampa complaining for years, the Rays’ recent improvements on the diamond have led to renewed interest and greater demand for tickets. To find the tickets you want to the most exciting Tampa Bay Rays games, head to TicketX for the most affordable seats around!

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