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  1. Rays

20 years of Rays: Things we’ve hated over the years

20/20 Vision: A few of the things we’ve hated about the Rays over the past two decades.
Robert Szasz gained notoriety at Tropicana Field by heckling the visiting team at Rays games. [Photo provided By Robert Szasz]
Robert Szasz gained notoriety at Tropicana Field by heckling the visiting team at Rays games. [Photo provided By Robert Szasz]
Published Mar. 24, 2018
Updated Mar. 25, 2018

With the Rays planning a year-long celebration of their 20th anniversary, the Times is taking a look back – with 20 lists of 20 things about those first 20 seasons.

Check out the rest of Marc Topkin's coverage here, on:
20 words on the 20th anniversary
20 numbers to remember
The 20 weirdest moments
Tampa Bay's 20 'Forrest Gump moments'
20 years of Rays and 'the things we've loved' about them
Greatest moments in franchise history
Best signings, trades and deals
20 players who surprisingly finished with them
20 players you forgot ever played for them
20 most notable draft picks
20 Things we've hated over the years
The 20 best players
The 20 best quotes
Recounting the 20 most memorable injuries
The 20 worst players
Ranking every season
Here are the 20 things we've hated about the Rays:

• Original Devil Rays name. Why couldn't they get Sting Rays from the Hawaiian winter league team again?

• DJ Kitty. Sorry, not sorry.

DJ Kitty dances during an event at Tampa Theatre in 2015. [Times files]
DJ Kitty dances during an event at Tampa Theatre in 2015. [Times files]

• That people still don't get they play in St. Petersburg.

• How the Trop turf looks on television.

• That fans can't see them take batting practice at the Trop (as is the case for home teams in most stadiums).

• The corporate shilling of the (now discontinued) Pepsi bottle race.

The heckler who sits behind home plate and gets too much attention.

• Having the bullpens on the sidelines at the Trop.

• The constant roster churning, as much as it makes sense business-wise.
• That first they held spring training at home, then moved to Port Charlotte rather than a better located potential secondary market.

Al Lang Stadium had a full house for this 1998 game between the Devil Rays and Boston Red Sox. Times files (1998)]
Al Lang Stadium had a full house for this 1998 game between the Devil Rays and Boston Red Sox. Times files (1998)]

• How they don't often feature players in clever TV commercials and other marketing ventures.

• That there's only been 20 seasons so they still don't have a history or a following.

• Using their small-market standing as an excuse to not being able to win.

• That they've been okay with senior VP Andrew Friedman and others leaving but still hold something against Joe Maddon.

• How secretive they are about the innovative, creative things they're trying.

• That until now they've been reluctant to embrace their past, as inglorious as the early years were.

• Trading James Shields, David Price, Evan Longoria, etc.

• Letting Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Alex Cobb, etc., leave as free agents.

• That the uncertainty over the stadium and franchise future — albeit in a way self-inflicted — is a cloud over everything they do.

• That they play — for now — at the Trop, under a fixed roof, making the weather on good days a non-factor.

Tropicana Field has been the home of the Rays since the beginning. [Times files (2010)]
Tropicana Field has been the home of the Rays since the beginning. [Times files (2010)]