On November 8th, the Tampa Bay Rays will present the new look of the future to all in attendance in waterfront Straub Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. It has been billed as a event for all ages with special appearances by ex-players Fred McGriff and Mr Hall of Fame, Wade Boggs showing off the new duds.
This date is only the first of two kick-off dates to showcase the new uni’s and logos. The following day, the crew hits the Tampa downtown Gaslight Park to again display the uniforms and give fans a venue to vent or shout their approval on the choices.
For years, the team has been working behind the scenes to update and translate the new look Rays to the public. They have done a massive retro fitting to the home stadium, the Trop., that has been converted from a average ballpark, to and interactive family friendly park with all the new bells and whistles.
The next step was the on field look to complete the transition from the Vince Namoli era to the new Stu Sternberg baseball look.
The uniforms are suppose to convey and old style that will accent the days of uniform lore. Gone will be the green lettering and the blue piping. Gone will be the green modern looking “Rays” logo on the outer gear and home uniforms. Also going the way of the dinosaur, will be the “Tampa Bay” lettering on the away jerseys.
This is not the last stage of the transformation of the team. The on field product is taking leaps and bounds in confidence and skill. The record does not speak well of the developments, but we did play 17 games against Boston, and 7 against Cleveland this year. This is noted, since they are the two teams via to play the Rockies soon in the World Series.
Oh, I forgot the main thing about that day.
Kevin Costner, Mr Crash Davis and Billy Chapel of baseball cinema fame will be on hand to help in the unveiling of this new look. This is a guy who made our AAA franchise a hit with everyone from Cali to Maine. I think he personally made it cool to wear a Durham Bulls hat.
I still wear mine daily to work.
Kevin had a special place in my psyche. He has been in 2 of my favorite baseball related films, “Bull Durham“, and “For the Love of the Game.”
Both are great films with a flair for the cocky and confident nature of the sport. I have the honor to have personal collectibles from both films and they are treasure possessions to me. I am currently working on getting a “Meet and Greet” with him for a photo op and a signing of the 1999 Baseball America magazine with him portraying “Bill Chapel” on the cover.
The event will conclude with a waterfront fireworks display, and a few hundreds hats and items throw to the masses.
The next evening, ____Rays players and coaches will be situated all over Tampa Bay to meet and greet fans at the Champs sporting good store locations to help the official public sales of the new look ___Rays merchandise.
I am looking forward to it like a kid at Christmas. I have been a fan even before our first pitch. I was a fan wanting and waiting since the first proposed “buying” of a team back in the days. For those who forgot, before we got our team, we tried to buy the Twins, A’s, Mariners,Giants, and White Sox. All those efforts went by the wayside by either MLB rulings, or local ownership in the their respective areas finally bellying up to the bar and paying for their teams.
I am excited to hear Costner’s band , “Modern West”. If this band had half the talent that he has on the screen, they will rock the bay that night and send everyone home with a memory for the ages…….