ANAHEIM, Calif. — Charlie Morton took the field Friday night like the rest of the Rays with plenty in front of him, wondering how the final two weeks of the season are going to play out, how tight the race for the two AL wild card spots will be with the A’s and Indians, and, ultimately, if they’re going to hang on and get one.But for Morton and a few teammates, who went on to an 11-4 win, being back in Anaheim and facing the Angels also gets them thinking about the past, and significant events in their careers.For Morton, this was where it all started, making his major-league debut as a 24-year-old for the Braves on June 14, 2008, 11-plus years and 247 games ago.“It will always be a special place for me for that reason," Morton said. RELATED: How Ji-Man Choi bumped Tim Beckham, Logan Forsythe, B.J. Upton from Rays record book He, understandably, doesn’t remember all the details, as he went six innings, allowed three runs on five hits and a walk, struck out four and got the W.But what he does recall remains important to him.How “pretty special" it was that Brian McCann was catching him as they’d worked out and come through the minor leagues together. … That he was facing a tough lineup anchored by Vladimir Guerrero (yes, kids, there was a Senior) for a “really, really good” team that would win 100 games and the AL West. … How his family came out from Connecticut to watch him. … That he started the game by going to a full count on Chone Figgins and Macier Izturis before striking them out, and knows it could have turned out much differently had he walked them. … How he was down 2-0 until the Braves rallied, Yunel Escobar (remember him?) knocking in two, went ahead and added on, with Brandon Jones homering.“All in all," Morton said, “it was a pretty overwhelming experience." RELATED: Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier welcomes pain relief, big honor Also, that he got a big hug in the clubhouse from teammate and future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.“I grew up a Braves fan," Morton said. “I rooted for the Yankees and the Braves. I know it’s kind of conflicting. The Yankees for me local reasons; we were 60 miles from (New York City). And the Braves because I liked their pitching.“It was kind of neat getting drafted by the Braves and signing with them and getting to play with some of those guys I looked up to as a kid."For SoCal native Daniel Robertson, Anaheim is pretty much home.And his first series there as a player, in May 2018, turned out to be quite a homecoming bash.With several hundred relatives and friends in the stands as a fundraiser for his charitable foundation thanks to the sale and organizational skills of his mom, Julie, Robertson put on a show.He went 4-for-6 with a homer in the first two games, and then delivered the biggest highlight, a grand slam —the first he’d hit at any level — in the second inning.He hit a more dramatic grand slam two months later, a pinch-hit, walkoff blast to beat the Marlins, but the one on his home turf remains most special.“Growing up there, going to those games, watching them win the World Series in ’02 at that field, I just spent a lot of time there," Robertson said. “So it was crazy pulling up there to go play a big-league game. Being dropped off and walking into the stadium to not watch a game but play in was weird. So I’ll definitely never forget those memories on and off the field."For Ryan Yarbrough, Angel Stadium was where history happened, the game of baseball as we know it changed forever, and he had a hand in it.Though it seems so long ago, it was the Rays’ last trip to Anaheim with they unveiled the opener pitching strategy, with Sergio Romo “starting” the May 19 game, and Yarbrough set to handle the “bulk” innings (though they weren’t officially called that yet).The Rays weren’t sure exactly how things were going to unfold, specifically for how many batters they’d keep Romo out there, but were ready to give it a try.Romo did great, striking out the first three Angels. Then when Robertson hit the grand slam with two outs in the second to put them up 4-0, the Rays opted to become even more revolutionary, limiting Romo to just the one inning so he could come back and be the opener again the next day.Which left Yarbrough, in his second month in the majors, scrambling a bit to get ready.“I remember getting up and stretching and as soon as D-Rob got into the dugout it was like, 'Go. ASAP! Get going now,’" Yarbrough said. “I’m like, 'Oh my gosh.’ It was one of those things where it all pretty happened pretty quickly."Yarbrough covered bulk innings and more, working 6 1/3 and allowing just one run. He ended up with his fourth big-league win after, ironically, future opener Ryne Stanek failed to close it out in the ninth, allowing a two-run Mike Trout homer to make it 5-3 before Alex Colome finished it.Since then, the Rays have used an opener 96 more times, winning 58 of those games, and seen most, though not quite all, of the other teams in majors experiment with it in some form.“This is our first time back since hatching it," Yarbrough said. “We’ve talked about this — what if it didn’t go so well the first time? Would it have worked out the same?" Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.