Tampa Bay Rays announce 20th anniversary plans for 2018


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wednesday at Tropicana Field, the Tampa Bay Rays launched a 20th Anniversary campaign that will continue throughout the 2018 season. The Rays 2018 season is presented by Tampa General Hospital.

“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of playing Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay,” said Rays  principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. “The festivities this year will bring smiles to faces as we recall the many colorful moments and incredible accomplishments of the last two decades. I’m grateful for all Rays staff, fans and supporters, who have done so much to make these 20 years so special for Tampa Bay.”

New for 2018, the Rays have created a 20th Anniversary logo that will appear as a patch on the left sleeve of all Rays 2018 regular-season Majestic Athletic jerseys and New Era caps. The home plate-shaped patch features the number 20, a sunburst and a variation of the original fish—all in the Rays modern colors. On four select home games (March 31, June 9, June 23 and September 8), the Rays will wear a Majestic Athletic white alternate throwback Devil Rays jersey using the original gradient Devil Rays design, worn from 1998 through 2000, and the 20th Anniversary patch on the left sleeve. For those four games plus select home and road games, the Rays will wear a newly designed navy blue New Era retro cap that blends the original and current designs, featuring a large fish emblem on a gradient background and a modified 20th Anniversary patch on the right side. In addition, all primary New Era game caps will feature the 20th Anniversary patch on the right side.

The Rays will pay tribute to two special teams in franchise history, starting Opening Weekend. On Saturday, March 31 vs. Boston, the Rays will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first game in franchise history, when the Devil Rays hosted the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field. Several members of the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays Opening Day roster will attend the game and take part in pregame ceremonies, and fans will receive a reversible 1998 Seat Cushion—a replica of the seat cushion given to fans on March 31, 1998—presented by GTE Financial. On Saturday, August 4 vs. Chicago, the Rays will celebrate the 2008 American League Championship club, with several of those alumni in attendance. An Akinori Iwamura Bobblehead, featuring Dave Wills’ radio call of the moment the Rays advanced to the World Series, will be distributed to fans that night.

The Rays 2018 promotional schedule, which will be released in full tomorrow, includes a dozen 20th Anniversary-themed giveaways. Other highlights include a Carl Crawford Bobblehead presented by DEX Imaging (Saturday, April 14 vs. Philadelphia), a Fred McGriff & Tino Martinez Bobblehead presented by Suncoast Credit Union (Saturday, June 9 vs. Seattle), a Rays & Devil Rays Reversible Jersey presented by Suncoast Credit Union (Saturday, June 23 vs. New York-AL), a Wade Boggs Bobblehead (Saturday, August 25 vs. Boston), a 20th Anniversary Photo Viewer presented by Sagicor Life Insurance Company (Saturday, September 8 vs. Baltimore) and a Dan Johnson Bobblehead presented by Moffitt Cancer Center (Saturday, September 29 vs. Toronto). In addition, on Opening Day (Thursday, March 29 vs. Boston), fans in attendance will receive a Rays Schedule Magnet and 20th Anniversary Cowbell, both presented by Tropicana. All giveaways are available while supplies last.

As the Rays begin their third decade, they have entered a partnership with Levy and its retail division, Rank + Rally, to dramatically overhaul the food, beverage and retail experience at Tropicana Field. The Rays are investing $4 million in capital improvements to renovate these amenities, update culinary equipment and invest in new technologies. The changes will include modernized “food halls” in the first- and third-base concourses and major updates to the center field experience, including the Porch and the Tropicana Field Team Store. These renovations are currently in progress, and media will be invited to tour the new facilities and sample a full spread of Levy’s new offerings next month.

For their part, Levy has more than doubled the number of staff devoted to food and beverage at Tropicana Field. Levy hired Mindy Downer as its director of operations and Ruthann Clemons as its Rank + Rally director of retail. Chef Daniel Carrico has been named executive chef and will lead a team of three chefs charged with creating an innovative new menu. “Chef Danny” will offer samples of one new dish, the Reuben Cuban, today. More details will be announced at next month’s media event.

Additionally, Levy will carry a line of 20th Anniversary-themed retail items this season in the Tropicana Field Team Store, including pins, lanyards, Tervis tumblers and special men’s and women’s fashion T-shirts. All Rays player jerseys and T-shirts will have the 20th Anniversary logo and will only be available during the 2018 season.

The 20th Anniversary has also inspired a variety of anniversary-themed ticket specials and incentives. A special 2-for-$20 ticket special will be available in the tbt* Party Deck for half the games and will be priced at $20 for the other half. Fans purchasing Flex Packs will receive a Pint Glass Set, presented by DEX Imaging, that includes the 20th Anniversary logo, one glass featuring a Devil Rays logo and the other a Rays logo. And for Season Ticket Holders, the Republic Bank Draft Room will feature visits from Rays players, both past and present, throughout the season. In addition, corporate partners of the Rays are developing programs and activations that will incorporate the 20th anniversary to be rolled out throughout the year.

An exclusive Evan Longoria Game 162 Bobblehead, presented by DEX Imaging, will be available for $20 at this Saturday’s Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field. Available for purchase only at the Clubhouse Corner, all proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, which focuses on youth and educational programming that make a measurable difference in the Tampa Bay region.

Finally, the Rays and Tampa Bay Times have collaborated on an exclusive, commemorative coffee table book, Twenty Years of Rays Baseball. Written by longtime beat writer Marc Topkin with a foreword by Sternberg, the book features over 200 pages of Rays history, photos and newspaper clippings, documenting the moment the franchise was awarded in 1995 until now. Published by Skybox Press, the book will be given as a gift to Season Ticket Holders and will be available shortly after Opening Day in the Team Store for $98.

For more information on the Rays 20th Anniversary campaign, visit raysbaseball.com/20.