When it comes to excitement, the Tampa Bay Rays do not disappoint. The Rays have done truly incredible things in their short history. Wether they’re winning the pennant against the defending World Champs or walking off to the postseason, the Rays have some unforgettable moments. Here are the top 10 moments that every Rays fan must relive.
Note: MLB.com videos are not compatible with WordPress. So I decided not to use Youtube’s fan-taken videos and just put pictures instead. If you want to see ‘The Top 10 Moments’ video slideshow, click here to check it out on TheRaysWay.com.
10.) Rays Win Their First World Series Game
The 2008 Fall Classic was probably the Rays’ worst memory during their magical season. After defying all odds and winning their first ever pennant, the Rays run came to an abrupt end against the Philadelphia Phillies. Although the series was not one to remember, the Rays will never forget the franchise’s first World Series victory. They won Game 2, to tie the series at one apiece. James Shields got the win in the 4-2 victory, and rookie David Price came in later to close out the game. Hopefully, October 23, 2008 won’t be the last World Series game at Tropicana Field.
9.) Rays Clinch the 2010 Postseason
Rafael Soriano’s strikeout of Adam Jones got the Rays back into the playoffs in 2010, closing out a 5-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles. The star of the game that night at the Trop was David Price. Price pitched eight scoreless innings in an absolutely stellar outing. 2010 was a great regular season for the Rays, as they also won their second AL East Division Title. Unfortunately, their impressive season ended after losing to the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.
8.) Matt Garza Tosses the Rays’ First Ever No-Hitter
July 26, 2010: the day Matt Garza threw the first no-hitter in team history. Garza’s memorable outing was one of six no-no’s of 2010’s “Year of the No-Hitter.” Garza pitched an unbelievable game that night versus Detroit, facing no more than the minimum 27 batters and only giving up a single baserunner. It was a great complement to a terrific season for Garza, and a great season for the Rays’ pitching staff.
7.) Wade Boggs Joins the 3000 Hit Club
August 7, 1999: the first great moment in the franchise’s history. It was also the most memorable moment in the Devil Ray era. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs got his long-awaited 3,000th hit that day. Boggs reached his historic milestone by blasting a home run into the seats of Tropicana Field. It was more of a career moment for Boggs than a franchise moment, but it gave Devil Rays fans a lot to be excited about. Boggs was the first franchise star, playing in Tampa Bay for both the ’98 and ’99 seasons. It was just the second year of the franchise when Boggs joined the 3,000 Club, and Rays fans were thrilled to see the big hit happen in Tropicana Field.
6.) Rays Advance to the 2008 ALCS
October 6 was one of many memorable fall nights for the Rays in 2008. Grant Balfour struck out future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS. It was the Rays’ first ever playoff series, and they didn’t seem to have too much of a hard time moving on to the next round. The Rays finished off the White Sox in Chicago, winning the series in four games.
5.) Dan Johnson’s Game-Tying Shot
September 28, 2011: one of the most incredible days of baseball ever. If you’re a baseball fan at all, you can not forget this unbelievable night at the Trop. It was game 162 of the regular season, and the Rays were tied with the Red Sox after an amazing wild-card comeback. The Rays were playing the Yankees that night, who jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Rays, as they had done all season, had come all the way back to almost tie the game in the late innings. In the bottom of the ninth, with two strikes and two outs, Dan Johnson was up to bat. As Rays Republic was wishing for yet another miracle, Johnson ripped a screaming line drive off the foul pole. Just like that, the game was all tied up. We all know the rest of the story, but that moment was absolutely unbelievable.
4.) 2008 ALCS: Rays Walk Off to Game 2 Victory
Game 2 was the first of a few slugfest games in the 2008 AL Championship Series. The game was pretty much a must-win for the Rays, after being shut out in Game 1. The Rays and Red Sox went back and forth that night, constantly belting homers out of the yard. Eventually, the crazy game carried into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th, the Rays had their speedy Fernando Perez at third and the big bat of Upton at the plate. Upton’s shallow fly ball to right proved to be good enough to even the series in walk-off fashion.
3.) Rays Clinch the Playoffs for the First Time
With over 36,000 fans watching at the Trop, the Rays finally clinched the playoffs after 10 years. A foul pop to Evan Longoria off the bat of Joe Mauer closed out the historic 7-2 victory. The Rays had done what nobody thought was possible. After an incredible 2008 season, stunning the baseball nation, the Rays had proven to everyone that nine does equal eight.
2.) Evan Longoria Puts the Rays into the 2011 Postseason
Evan Longoria’s 12th-inning walk-off home run was maybe the most incredible regular season moment in MLB history. A better script could not be written for what happen that night on September 28, 2011. Almost simultaneously, the Red Sox were blowing it in Baltimore the same way the Yankees were blowing it at the Trop. Right before Evan Longoria stepped into the batter’s box, the Orioles had stunned the Red Sox with an amazing ninth-inning comeback. Now, the Rays were just a run away from finishing off the historic comeback. Just like Dan Johnson had done a few innings prior, Longoria ripped a frozen rope right down the line. This time, the home run had won the game and clinched the Rays their third postseason appearance. There’s really no words to describe an epic moment like this.
1.) The Rays Win the Pennant
October 19, 2008: the day the Tampa Bay Rays went from worst to first. Game 7 of the ALCS was a game that no Rays fan will ever forget. Matt Garza was called to start the game against the defending World Champs from Boston. Garza pitched the game of his life, and rookie David Price was later called on to secure a ticket to the World Series. The young Price, with barely any MLB experience, closed out the series, crowning the Rays American League champs. That pennant victory still stands as the all-time high of the franchise.