2017 mark’s the 20th Anniversary of the Tampa Bay Rays and among the highlights of the schedule will include hosting the first scheduled doubleheader since 2011 and opening the season on ESPN.
Major League Baseball released the 2017 schedules of all 30 teams and the Tampa Bay Rays will not only open the season at home against the New York Yankees, but they’ll be part of ESPN’s national Opening Day coverage on Sunday, April 2 in celebration of their 20th anniversary.
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For the eighth consecutive year and the third under manager Kevin Cash, the Rays will open the season at home and the fourth time hosting the Yankees in their home opener.
The Rays previous home openers against the Yankees came in 2004, 2009 and 2012. All won by the Rays – and needless to say, this is just the beginning against the Yankees.
They’ll return to the Trop for a weekend series May 19-21, and another three-game set, September 11-13.
In addition, the Rays will also be hosting the Oakland A’s in a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, June 10.
This is MLB’s first scheduled doubleheader since 2016 and only the second since 1996 when the A’s played at Minnesota.
“Many of us in the Rays organization have fond memories of single-gate doubleheaders, so this is something that we have long wanted to do,” said Rays President Brian Auld. “The schedule lines up for it nicely next season and we’re going to work hard to make it a special day at Tropicana Field.”
Also celebrating 20-years is Interleague play and for the fifth consecutive season the Tampa Bay Rays will play 20-Interleague games.
This year’s league match-up will be against the National League Central where the Rays will play all five teams from the Central Division and as well their annual home-and-home series against the Miami Marlins.
The regular season will feature the usual suspects with the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
However, some new tag lines come with a new look for the New York “Baby Bombers” Yankees and the Boston “Big Papiless” Red Sox.
Tampa Bay’s rivals from the AL East will go head-to-head 19 times for a total of 76 games on the season.
The breakdown includes: Yankees (9 home, 10 away), Orioles (9 home, 10 away), Red Sox (9 home, 10 away) and Toronto Blue Jays (10 home, 9 away).
The rest of schedule includes 33 games against teams from the AL Central and AL West divisions.
That breakdown has the Rays playing seven games against the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros.
Additionally, the Rays will play six games apiece against the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
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Weekends at Tropicana Field will be busy and shall highlight a pair of series against the New York Yankees (May 19-21), Boston Red Sox (July 7-9 and September 15-17) and the Chicago Cubs (September 19-20).