Rays deliver new pitch: We Are One Team

By TOM ZUCCO, Times Staff Writer
Published February 22, 2008

Although the ads have been running for several weeks, Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman officially unveiled the team's 2008 marketing campaign Thursday.

The theme: We Are One Team.

The slogan is a nod, Silverman said, to the prospects of an improved team with talent allied with a fan base that reaches across the Tampa Bay region.

What's different from past seasons is a focus on five or six players, rather than one or two. Or none. The Rays now have a core group of players to highlight and build a team around, Silverman said, including outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Scott Kazmir and infielder Akinori Iwamura.

"We couldn't have done this two years ago," Silverman said. "It's an indication of the maturing of the team and franchise."

Silverman said the Rays are not tying their marketing campaign to the club's other main interest - a new waterfront ballpark and a redevelopment project where Tropicana Field now sits. "We'd be doing the same thing if we weren't pursuing the ballpark and redevelopment."

But he agreed the task of securing a new stadium would be easier if the Rays play well this year. "The public is looking for signs of improvement and momentum," he said, "and if the team delivers, it should certainly help gather support for the ballpark plan."