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The Intangibles: Tampa Bay Rays 
Posted on December 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM.
Today, I am continuing my look at all thirty teams in Baseball and the things that make them either great for starting a franchise, or lousy for playing one. This is "The Intangibles," a series of games that look at the aesthetic side of Baseball.

I grade my selections on these criteria...
  • Stadium Playability- This has to do with how well the stadium plays in the game
  • Stadium Aesthetics- Basically, how pretty the stadium is.
  • Team Logo- Is it unique or is it just another run of the mill baseball with circular text?
  • Uniforms- Are they classic, are they eye-poping, or do they induce depression?
  • Overall- Not an average, but a sumation of the experience that I have with the team.
I will play with thirty teams in their stadiums, and I hope to have this done by the next baseball season. Today's game takes us across the Gulf of Mexico into Tampa /St. Petersburg to visit the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays started out as the Devil Rays in 1998 during the last part of expansion baseball. The team boasted crazy uniforms in a stadium that was built as a relic to the bland stadiums of the past. Tampa was a possible home for two teams, including the White Sox and Giants, but eventually fielded a team that was a team of their own. Thirteen years and a pennant later, the Rays are still struggling to find an identity in a town still claimed by the New England area snowbirds.

One of the first things that you notice is the logo for the team. To be fair, the Rays have never had a good logo. Their first logo was dumped with gradients and the new logo leaves a lot of white space and work to be desired. Their second logo was an improvement, but still had gaudy "futuristic" text. The current logo has a lot of white space and a lot to be desired. While most teams use a furious animal or a strong character, the Rays use "a beam of light that shines though the Sunshine State." They might as well be the Fightin' Melanomas.

The Rays have uniforms that fit the logos, which are dull, uninspiring, and lack a lot of character. For a team that is represented by sun beams, one of the last colors that I would expect would be navy blue. The home and road sets are equally dull, and the navy blue jersey is just as bad. The one saving grace out of their current set is the sky blue jersey, but it's hard to wear those in 162 games. Their throwbacks go back to the original gradient set, which are cool to wear on occasion, but really lack in the current time.

The Rays play in Tropicana Field, which probably should be called "The Dungeon." Seriously, I think there are some mausoleums that are more warm and inviting than this place; it's simply a drab ballpark. The problem for the Rays is that the ballpark was built nearly a decade before they were playing. Give credit to the organization; they've tried to make this place look like a Major League park, but there's no denying that the large concrete structure looks like it's stuck in the 1970's. Hopefully, the Rays will get a new ballpark (although the City of St. Petersburg seems determined to keep the Rays in the ballpark for the foreseeable future).

Playability wise, it's not that more inviting. The field is asymetrical (not typical of this era of ballparks), but it's really forced. The little four foot fence in left field is contrived, and there is not much room for foul balls due to expansion of seating on the field. From my personal experience, "The Trop" is a neutral ballpark for hitters and pitchers although sources from ESPN say that it favors the pitchers more. In the game I played, that could be the case.

Grading the whole thing...
  • Stadium Playability- (B-)
  • Stadium Aesthetics- (F)
  • Team Logo- (D)
  • Uniforms- (C-)
  • Overall- (C-)
Unless you are a fan of the team, or you just hate the Yankees and Red Sox, there is no reason to play with this team. Drab, boring, and lifeless are the words I would use to describe the whole package, which is a shame considering the team is one of the better ones in Baseball right now.

As for the game:
Baltimore Orioles 2
Tampa Bay Rays 1

(Someday I'll find that thumb drive).
# 1 Reys @ Jan 22
This is a great idea for a series, but shouldn't you consider the actual team in your decision?

"Unless you are a fan of the team, or you just hate the Yankees and Red Sox, there is no reason to play with this team."

No reason except they have a cheap, young, amazing rotation. A few great young hitters, and plenty of talent in the minors.
# 2 Perfect Zero @ Jan 23
I'm not knocking the team; I'm knocking the style choice. If I was ranking the teams personnel wise, the Rays would be high on the grade. The series though is looking at the aesthetics of the team.
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