Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Media found the Rays, lost the 'Bay'

When the Tampa Bay Rays proposed building a new stadium, some people worried that if the plan fell through the team might leave town.

Actually, it turns out they already did. They're not in St. Petersburg anymore. They're in Tampa now. Everybody says so.

On Monday, the Toronto Star reported that its battered Blue Jays are 14 games behind the first-place "Tampa Rays." Last week, MSNBC noted that the formerly downtrodden "Tampa Rays" have been tearing up the American League this season. Last month, a columnist for the Contra Costa Times in California said the team is doing so well that "the Tampa Rays think they're the new Red Sox."

Not everybody's a believer, though. In May, the New York Daily News questioned whether the "Tampa Rays" are really good enough to win 98 games this season.

So where did this hot Tampa ball club come from, and whatever happened to the one that used to play at Tropicana Field?

Don't ask Bill Foster. He might snap your head off.

The former St. Petersburg City Council member has made a minor crusade out of reminding everyone where that team named the Rays actually plays. Just last week, Foster fired off a complaint to ESPN about the anchors of Sports Center and Baseball Tonight repeatedly referring to Tampa, not St. Petersburg, as the home field of Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford.

The polite e-mail response, Foster said, was, "We will inform the anchors of the location of the team." (An ESPN spokesman declined to comment.)

Since the first pitch of the first game in 1998, the "Tampa Bay" in the Rays' name has been frequently shortened to just "Tampa" by geographically challenged journalists, much to the annoyance of St. Petersburg residents. And now that the team is on top, notes team vice president Michael Kalt, "it's just that we're being talked about more."

To the fuming Foster, it's a lost opportunity to promote the city: "You've got nine players on the field with a billboard on their shirts. Their billboards should say, 'St. Petersburg,' and instead it says 'Tampa.'"

On the other hand, he pointed out, turnabout can be fair play.

"Thank goodness the St. Pete Times Forum is in Tampa," he joked. "I can't tell you how many people think the Lightning play hockey in St. Pete."

Times staff researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

It's the Tampa BAY Rays

Despite what some sports shows and columns report, the team hasn't dropped the "Bay" from its name. And it has not moved to Tampa.

Media found the Rays, lost the 'Bay' 07/07/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa heading into several tough budget years

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Less pain now, more pain later.

    The Tampa City Council will hold a final public hearing on the proposed 2018 city budget and property tax rate at 5 p.m. Thursday on the third floor of Old City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.
  2. The Daystarter: Rick vs. Rick 2.0 tonight; Bucs' McCoy says some fans cross line; Trump associate to testify; helicopter crashes onto Odessa roof


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.


    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  4. Trump associate Roger Stone to talk to House panel in Russia probe


    WASHINGTON — The House intelligence panel will interview two of President Donald Trump's associates behind closed doors this week as congressional committees step up their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    Roger Stone talks to reporters outside a courtroom in New York this past March. The House intelligence panel will interview Stone behind closed doors Tuesday as congressional committees step up their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Fformer Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn also will talk to the House panel. [Associated Press]
  5. Pinellas commission set to discuss next budget, licensing board

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Commission will be busy on Tuesday.