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. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.