St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

The evolution of the Devil Rays

[Times files (1998)]
Tropicana Field is lit up orange after the Devil Rays' opening game on March 31, 1998.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


1995

March 9 -- The franchise is awarded at a major-league owners meeting in Palm Beach.

April 27 -- The team and city agree on a 30-year lease at what was then called the ThunderDome.

July 19 -- Chuck LaMar, assistant general manager of the Atlanta Braves, is hired as general manager.

1996

Oct. 3 -- The ThunderDome becomes Tropicana Field in a 30-year deal worth $30-million to $50-million.

Oct. 7 -- Ground is broken on the 15-month, $63-million stadium renovation.

1997

Oct. 15 -- The Rays are placed in the American League East.

Nov. 7 -- Marlins pitching coach Larry Rothschild is named manager.

Dec. 6 -- Individual game tickets go on sale; Opening Day sells out in 17 minutes.

1998

Feb. 26 -- The Rays take the field for the first time as a team, beating Florida State 6-3.

March 20 -- A Dillard's executive cancels orders for any more Rays merchandise after the team's managing general partner, Vince Naimoli, chews out the chain's brass because he is upset with Dillard's for using the team's uniform logo without permission.

March 27 -- The Rays play their first game in Tropicana Field, an exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves.

March 31 -- Wilson Alvarez starts the Rays first-ever game; they lose 11-6 to Detroit before 45,369 fans, the only sellout at Tropicana Field.

April 1 -- The Rays get their first win, 11-8 over the Tigers before 30,109.

Oct. 5 -- Rays reduce price of most season tickets, raise price of most single-game tickets.

1999

Feb. 11 -- Senior vice president of sales and marketing Mike Veeck announces "Off the Wall" ticket sales campaign.

Feb. 25 -- Rays sue Danka Business Systems, claiming the company owes more than $150,000 in sponsorship fees and a missed rental payment for its luxury suite.

May 25 -- Veeck resigns.

Oct. 5 -- Rays say they won't raise ticket prices for 2000.

Nov. 11 -- Florida Progress Corp., with a $5-million ownership stake in the Rays, announces $15-million lump sum payment as part of new sponsorship deal that runs through 2007.

Dec. 10 -- Rays sue Pinellas County's property appraiser over a $38,571 property tax bill.

2000

Feb. 14 -- Team announces reduction in home games on TV, hoping to attract more fans to home games.

April 9 -- Rays remove copies of the St. Petersburg Times from Tropicana Field and Naimoli threatens legal action and demands an apology over sports section spoof of him; Rays lose 17-4 to Indians in their only national TV game of the season.

June 12 -- It is reported that Naimoli has ordered the Rays to shun a fundraiser for the medically needy because organizers decided to hold it at St. Petersburg's Coliseum instead of Tropicana Field.

Oct. 1 -- The St. Petersburg High School band is scheduled to play the national anthem before the game, but cancels because the team wants to charge band members admission.

Nov. 13 -- Naimoli succeeds in getting assessment on his five-bedroom, 61/2-bath, 14,368-square-foot home in Avila reduced by $99,630, saving nearly $2,400 in taxes.

Dec. 11 -- Rays sue Pinellas County's property appraiser over a property tax bill of about $35,000 that the team says it should not have to pay.

2001

Feb. 6 -- Rays unveil new uniforms, logo, color scheme and shortened name, eliminating Devil from lettering across chest.

March 21 -- Naimoli draws a sour reaction from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce after chastising the host hotel for failing to renew its season tickets.

April 3 -- Rays beat Toronto 8-1 in season opener before 41,546; they then lose the next seven games.

April 18 -- Rothschild fired, replaced as manager by bench coach Hal McRae.

April 25 -- The Times reports a rift among the Rays ownership group.

- Compiled by Bruce Lowitt and Marc Topkin from information in Times files.

Back to Sports

Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Devil Rays
  • Naimoli to drop daily duties
  • Mum's the word from Rays, MLB
  • Team not moving, officials insist
  • The general partners
  • The evolution of the Devil Rays
  • Loss doesn't derail McRae's optimism
  • New pitchers don't have to wait long
  • Baseball commissioner warns: No new stadium, no Marlins

  • Bucs
  • In the right place at the right time. Finally.

  • Lightning
  • Lightning, Rochester a match?

  • Colleges
  • College roundup

  • NBA
  • NBA briefs

  • NHL
  • NHL briefs

  • NFL
  • NFL briefs

  • Baseball
  • Baseball briefs

  • Golf
    Et cetera
  • Icon back for look at history
  • Ad clash leads to dead air
  • Sports briefs
  • Golf briefs

  • Preps
  • Spartans win one more title
  • Plant ends drought against Chamberlain
  • Cougar girls win 3A state championship
  • County has very quiet day
  • Pasco clobbers Central 8-3 to win 4A-6 championship
  • River Ridge loses 1-0 in nine
  • Lecanto strong 2nd in 2A Region 2 meet
  • Eagle boys, Ram girls take home district titles
  • New school hires Falcons coach
  • 'Inspired' hit lifts King to win
  • Jesuit finish in second at 2A-3 regional meet
  • Vidal vital to Barons' victory


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts