Delmon Young

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Posted by sonny 04/09/2009 @ 00:09

Tags : delmon young, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Young to miss series with White Sox - MLB.com
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com NEW YORK -- Outfielder Delmon Young will not return to the team until Friday at the earliest, manager Ron Gardenhire said on Monday. Young was put on the Family Medical Emergency List on Friday so he could travel to...
Young takes family emergency leave - MLB.com
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com NEW YORK -- The Twins placed outfielder Delmon Young on the Family Medical Emergency List on Friday so he could be with his ailing mother in California. Young traveled to California following Thursday's win over the Tigers,...
Maybin, Rasmus, Schafer, Fowler, Young all showing growing pains ... - ESPN
I'd say he ends up on another franchise really soon, the most recent Delmon Young type who needs a new start. For fantasy purposes, you put up with attitude when the player performs, like Barry Bonds did. I'd say Milledge isn't close to returning to...
Weak pitcher options to choose from - ESPN
Delmon Young, OF, Twins: It's hard to argue with nine hits in 14 at-bats, Young's lifetime success off Pettitte, and at this point he could use any success he can get. Just cross your fingers that Young returns in time for Monday's game....
AL Notes: Guerrero could return to Angels soon - Houston Chronicle
OF Delmon Young, who is attending to his ill mother in California, won't rejoin the team until Friday at the earliest. IF Nomar Garciaparra, on the DL since April 29 with a right calf injury, may be ready to return Wednesday....
Minnesota Twins: How To Fix the Messy Outfield Problem - Bleacher Report
by Andrew Kneeland (Senior Writer) Five outfielders for four positions: Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel. Here is a brief run-down of each and what their playing time should look like: Denard Span...
Grading the MinnesotaTwins Infield - Bleacher Report
Because Delmon Young is on a brief DL stint, Morales is active now but this won't last. Morales will probably be heard from again in September. He hit .333 in the 20 games he played, and his .385 OBP also eclipses Redmond's....
Delmon Young, Not Carlos Gomez, Should Be Riding the Twins' Bench - Bleacher Report
Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Carlos Gomez, and Delmon Young were all candidates to see significant playing time, but Ron Gardenhire was supposed to have a difficult time divvying up the playing time among them. Well, we are 35 games into...
Strike Zone: NL Team-by-Team Notes - KING5.com
Delmon Young got a couple of starts over the weekend with Nyjer Morgan (hamstring) down and had a two hits in both games. Unfortunately for him, Brandon Moss has also gotten hot, with five straight multihit games. Expectations are that Morgan will be...
American League - Winston-Salem Journal
Twins: Outfielder Delmon Young won't rejoin the team until Friday at the earliest. Young left the team last Friday before the start of a four-game series at the New York Yankees to attend to his ill mother in California and was put on the family...

Delmon Young

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Delmon Damarcus Young (born September 14, 1985 in Montgomery, Alabama) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Minnesota Twins. He is the younger brother of MLB player Dmitri Young, an outfielder and first baseman for the Washington Nationals. Despite having little major league experience, Young has already received a reputation around baseball for his strong and accurate throwing arm in the outfield. Don Zimmer, now a consultant with the Rays, has compared Young's arm to that of Jesse Barfield or Raúl Mondesí. In terms of hitting ability, at 6'3", 205 pounds, he presents an intimidating and strong plate presence, and his hitting ability has often been compared to that of Albert Belle. He has a line drive swing with a slight uppercut that can produce long home runs and bullet line drives.

Young graduated from Adolfo Camarillo High School in 2003, located in Camarillo, California, whereupon he was drafted first overall in the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft.

In 2005, Young hit .336 with 20 home runs, 71 RBI and an OPS of .968 in 2005, in 84 games with Double-A Montgomery, winning the Southern League MVP despite playing barely more than half the season. Young was promoted to Triple-A Durham on July 15, 2005, where he batted .285 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 52 games. After the season was over, he was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year, not to mention its #1 overall prospect for the 2006 season. Young finished his minor league career with a .318 batting average.

On April 26, 2006, while playing for the Triple-A Durham Bulls in a game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Young threw his bat at the umpire after being called out on strikes. He stared at the umpire for some time and refused to leave the batter's box. He finally did, but then started to return to his dugout and the center field camera caught him throwing his bat underhand, end-over-end, toward the umpire. It hit him on his chest and arm but he was not hurt.

The next day, Young issued an apology through his agent, claiming that he had not intended for the bat to actually strike the umpire, but acknowledging that it was unacceptable to have thrown the bat at all. The International League initially suspended Young indefinitely, then announced on May 9, 2006, he would be suspended for 50 games, without pay, retroactive to the day of the incident. Young had the option to appeal the suspension, but chose not to do so. The suspension ended on June 19, 2006.

This altercation was not the first he had had with an umpire during a game. In 2005, while playing for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Young received a three-game suspension for bumping an umpire.

On August 28, 2006, the Devil Rays called Young up to the major leagues after it was decided that Jonny Gomes had to undergo season-ending surgery. Thirty-one games remained of the 2006 Devil Rays season when he was promoted. His first game at the major league level was against the Chicago White Sox and occurred on August 29 2006, ten years to the day after his older brother Dmitri played in his first major league game. In Delmon's first major league plate appearance, White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia hit Young with a first-pitch fastball. After striking out in his first official at-bat, Young stroked a curveball for a 412-foot two-run home run, which was his first major league hit.

As a 21-year-old in 2007, Young finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting to Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Young was also a unanimous selection to the 2007 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. The selection was the result of the 49th annual Topps balloting of Major League managers.

On November 28, 2007, the Devil Rays traded Young, along with Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie, to the Minnesota Twins for Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, and Eduardo Morlan.

Young had an impressive spring training. In 36 at-bats, he batted .361 with two doubles, one home run, and seven RBI, locking up his spot in left field for opening day.

Young finished the season with 8 errors, more than any other left fielder in the majors, while his 11 assists led AL left fielders.

At the end of the 2008 season, Young had played in 152 games with the Minnesota Twins, batting .290 with 10 home runs and 69 RBI.

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Montgomery Biscuits

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The Montgomery Biscuits are a minor league baseball team based in Montgomery, Alabama. The team is the Class AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and plays in the Southern League. The 2004 season was the team's first in Montgomery. The Biscuits play in Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, which has a capacity of 7,000.

The franchise joined the Southern League in 1973 as the Orlando Twins, a minor-league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, which held spring training in Orlando, Florida at the time. The Orlando Twins played at Tinker Field in downtown Orlando, near the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. In 1990, the team was renamed the Orlando Sun Rays. In 1993, the Chicago Cubs became the team's new major-league affiliate, and the team was renamed the Orlando Cubs. While still a Chicago Cubs affiliate, the team renamed itself once again in 1997 and became the Orlando Rays. The following year, for one season only, the Seattle Mariners were the Rays' major-league affiliate. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, an American League expansion team in 1998, assumed the Orlando Rays' major-league affiliation the following year.

The Orlando Rays' last season at Tinker Field was 1999. From 2000 to 2003, the Orlando Rays played in Kissimmee, Florida, at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Despite the fact that the team played in a state-of-the-art stadium that was built in 1997 and used during spring training by the Atlanta Braves, attendance did not meet expectations; after trailing the Southern League in attendance in multiple years, the Rays' owners announced the team would move to Montgomery in 2004 (terminating their 10-year lease with Disney after four seasons). Rays players who went on to the major-league level include Carl Crawford, Toby Hall, Jorge Cantu, Dewon Brazelton, Chad Gaudin, Matt Diaz, Jonny Gomes and Seth McClung.

The Biscuits became Montgomery's first professional baseball team since 1980, when the Montgomery Rebels played their final season in the Southern League. The Biscuits' owners selected the team's nickname from an entry in a "name the team" contest, due in part to the potential marketing and pun possibilities (ex. "Hey, Butter, Butter, Butter" or the team's souvenir store, the "Biscuit Basket"). During games, biscuits are shot from an air cannon, into the stands.

While in Orlando, the franchise won three Southern League championships: in 1981 (as the Twins), 1991 (as the Sun Rays), and 1999 (as the Rays).

On September 15, 2006, in just their third year of existence, the Biscuits defeated the Huntsville Stars to win the team's first Southern League championship in Montgomery. One year later, in 2007, the Biscuits again defeated the Huntsville Stars to win their second consecutive Southern League championship. They became the first team since the 1975-1977 Montgomery Rebels to win back-to-back championships.

Current Major League Baseball players who first played for the Biscuits include pitchers Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Jason Hammel, Andy Sonnanstine, David Price, and Juan Salas, catcher Shawn Riggans, infielders B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria, and outfielders Delmon Young and Joey Gathright.

Their mascot is "Monty", an anthropomorphized buttermilk biscuit. Monty appears in the logo and on the hat and is also the star of the documentary,"The Story of Monty the Biscuit". The mascot for the Orlando Rays was "Spike", a bear. The origin of Spike is unknown but presumed to predate the Devil Rays, as the club was previously controlled by the Cubs as well as the Twins (who have a bear mascot, T.C. Bear).

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Tampa Bay Rays

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The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball franchise based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the reigning 2008 American League Champions. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in 1998, the Rays have played in Tropicana Field and have finished out of last place only twice: once in 2004, when they finished fourth in their division, and again in 2008, when they won their first division title, entered the playoffs for the first time in team history, and qualified for the World Series.

In November 2007, majority owner Stuart Sternberg decided to make drastic changes and renamed his team from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", which he described as "A beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida." With the name change, the teams' primary colors were also changed from black, green, and blue to navy blue, Columbia blue, and gold.

Civic leader and St. Petersburg Times publisher, Jack Lake, first suggested St. Petersburg pursue a Major League baseball team. The notable influences Lake held in the sport are what led to the serious discussions that changed St. Petersburg from a spring training location to a major league city. He spoke to anyone who would listen about his desire to see the city of St. Petersburg have a Major league baseball team. His colorful direction dominated the mindset in both sports and business circles dating back to 1966. He was said to have the foresight and prominence to make it happen.

Local leaders made many unsuccessful attempts to acquire a major league baseball team in the 1980s and 1990s. The Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners all considered moving to either Tampa or St. Petersburg before deciding to remain in their current locations. The Florida Suncoast Dome (now named Tropicana Field) was built in St. Petersburg in 1990 with the purpose of luring a major league team. When MLB announced that it would add two expansion teams for the 1993 season, it was widely assumed that one of the teams would be placed in St. Petersburg. However, the teams were awarded to Denver (Colorado Rockies) and Miami (Florida Marlins) instead.

In 1992, San Francisco Giants owner Bob Lurie agreed in principle to sell his team to a Tampa Bay based group of investors led by Vince Naimoli, who would then move the team to St. Petersburg. However, at the 11th hour, MLB owners nixed the move under pressure from San Francisco officials and the Giants were sold to a group that kept them in San Francisco.

Finally, on March 9, 1995, new expansion franchises were awarded to Naimoli's Tampa Bay group and a group from Phoenix (the Arizona Diamondbacks). The new franchises were scheduled to begin play in 1998.

The Tampa Bay area finally had a team, but the stadium in St. Petersburg was already in need of an upgrade. In 1993, the stadium was renamed the Thunderdome and became the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League team. After the birth of the Rays, the naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products and $70 million was spent on renovations.

The Devil Rays began to build their organization shortly after the franchise was awarded in 1995 by naming former Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Chuck LaMar the senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. The franchise's first minor league games took place in the 1996 season. On November 7, 1997, Larry Rothschild was named the team's first manager. The team acquired 35 players in the Expansion Draft on November 18, 1997. Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins was the first player drafted by the Devil Rays. The team also drafted future star Bobby Abreu and promptly traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker, who had very little success for the Rays. Before the 1998 season, star players Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, and Wilson Alvarez were acquired.

The Devil Rays played their first game on March 31, 1998 against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field before a crowd of 45,369. Wilson Alvarez threw the first pitch and Wade Boggs hit the first home run in team history that day, and although the Devil Rays lost their opening game 11–6, they actually got off to a good start. Miguel Cairo is the last remaining player from the Devil Rays opening day roster, although Randy Winn also spent time with the team later in the 1998 season. The Devil Rays were 11–8 after 19 games before losing six straight, falling below .500, never to recover to that level again in their inaugural season. They would go on to lose 99 games that year. José Canseco was signed prior to the 1999 season. One of the most memorable moments in franchise history occurred on August 7, 1999 when Wade Boggs tallied his 3000th career hit on a home run, the only player to ever do so. Boggs retired after the season and is the only Ray with his number retired (ironically, he spent more time with the Red Sox and Yankees yet neither team has hung up his jersey). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Devil Rays acquired sluggers Vinny Castilla and Greg Vaughn on December 13, 1999 and dubbed McGriff, Canseco, Castilla, and Vaughn the "Hit Show." As it turned out, however, all of these players were past their prime, and the team continued to struggle in 2000. Prior to the 2001 season, the Rays changed their team colors and uniforms and also acquired highly-touted outfielder Ben Grieve from Oakland but neither move improved their luck in the standings. On April 18, Larry Rothschild was fired as manager and was replaced by Hal McRae, and McGriff was dealt to the Chicago Cubs, interestingly taking nearly a month to decide whether to enforce his no-trade clause or to leave his hometown of Tampa for Chicago, which was in a heated divisional race. By the 2002 season, the Devil Rays decided to build with younger players and drastically reduced the team payroll. Randy Winn, Aubrey Huff, Toby Hall, and Carl Crawford began to emerge as key players. However, the 2002 season would prove to be the worst in franchise history to date. McRae was moved to a front office position after the season.

Before the 2003 season, the team traded Randy Winn to the Seattle Mariners for the right to negotiate with manager Lou Piniella, a Tampa native, who managed winning teams at every stop in his managerial career, including the New York Yankees, the Cincinnati Reds (whom he led to a World Championship in 1990), and the Mariners (whom he led to American League Runner-Up finishes in 1995, 2000, and 2001). Piniella was attracted to the Tampa Bay job because of the proximity to his family and the chance to build a losing franchise into a winner as he had done in Seattle. Piniella's first team still finished last, but was seven games better than the 2002 team. A highlight of the 2003 season was the emergence of Rocco Baldelli, a native of Rhode Island, as one of the top rookies in the major leagues. A bizarre incident occurred in 2003 when, in an interleague game against the Chicago Cubs, Sammy Sosa's bat broke on a pitch from Devil Rays pitcher Geremi González, revealing it was corked.

Expectations were low for the team entering the 2004 season, but the team surprised most baseball experts by finishing with the best record in team history, 70–91. It was the first time the Devil Rays won 70 games in a season and they also finished in 4th place in the American League East, out of last place for the first time ever. Their record was 10–28 coming into May when they made their run in which they won 30 of 40 games, including a team-record 12 games in a row. The Rays had a 42–41 record after 83 games, within 5 games of the American League wild card. However, the team soon returned to its losing ways, leading to a final record of 21 games below .500. The season was highlighted by the continued development of Aubrey Huff, Carl Crawford, and Rocco Baldelli into some of the top young hitters in baseball. The front office produced a major accomplishment on July 30, 2004 when pitcher Victor Zambrano was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Scott Kazmir, who has since become the team's best pitcher and one of the top young pitchers in all of baseball.

After a 28-61 record at the All-Star Break in 2005, the Devil Rays turned it around in the second half of the season, going 39-34, for a final record of 67-95. Rocco Baldelli missed the entire 2005 season due to injury, but Carl Crawford and newcomers Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes led a productive offense that finished third in the American League in team batting average. To counterbalance that, however, the pitching staff had the second worst ERA in the American League. During their strong second half, the Devil Rays played spoilers in September, with timely victories over contenders such as the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Despite the promising finish, Lou Piniella became frustrated with what he perceived as an insufficient commitment to winning by the ownership group, and he reached a settlement with the team to release him from the last year of his contract.

Shortly after the season ended, Stuart Sternberg, who bought into the ownership group in 2004, took over from Vince Naimoli as managing general partner, thus taking over executive control of the team. He immediately fired Chuck LaMar, who had been the team's general manager since the team's first season, and most of the front office. Matthew Silverman was named the team president, and Andrew Friedman took the role of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Gerry Hunsicker, former General Manager of the Houston Astros, was named the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, with the responsibility of advising the younger Friedman. Sternberg decided not to have a de jure General Manager, calling the position "outdated." Friedman and Hunsicker share the role of team representative at MLB functions.

The team focused its rebuilding efforts around young stars such as outfielders Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Jonny Gomes, infielder Jorge Cantu (who hit 28 home runs and drove in 117 runs in 2005) and pitcher Scott Kazmir (who finished in the top 5 in the American League in strikeouts). Baldelli missed the entire 2005 season with injuries, but returned to the team in 2006. Also figuring into the Rays' future plans were Delmon Young and B.J. Upton, considered two of the best prospects in all of baseball.

In December 2005, Joe Maddon, the former bench coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was named the new manager of the Devil Rays, the fourth in team history, replacing Lou Piniella in that role.

During the offseason, the new front office invested $10 million in improvements to Tropicana Field. Among the major changes were new club seating on the first base side, a 35-foot, 10,000 gallon touch tank holding 30 live cownose rays behind the right-center field fence, and the addition of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, relocated from Citrus County. Other changes to increase attendance and fan interest included free parking at all home games, allowing tailgating in the parking lot before games, allowing fans to bring their own food and drinks into Tropicana Field, lower ticket prices and concession prices, and an increased number of promotions and give-aways.

With the change of ownership and the strong finish to the 2005 season, Tampa Bay fans were optimistic about the 2006 season. On April 10, the official attendance at Tropicana Field for the Rays' home opener was 40,199, the highest turnout since the 1998 Inaugural Season home opener.

An unfortunate event occurred on April 26, when Delmon Young, playing for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, was ejected from the first inning of a game for arguing a third strike, and tossed his bat at the umpire, striking him in the chest protector. The umpire was not injured, but Young was suspended indefinitely the next day by the International League. Young ultimately was suspended for 50 games without pay and performed 50 hours of community service.

The Devil Rays struggled in the second half, going 22–51 to finish the season with a 61–101 record, the worst in the major leagues. The team's poor play in the second half was attributed to the trades of veterans for prospects, injuries to key players such as Scott Kazmir and Ty Wigginton, and slumps by several players (notably Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu). Another factor was that the Devil Rays played extremely poorly on the road, winning only 3 out of 39 road games after July 1. This matched the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics for the least number of road wins after the All Star break in baseball history. Overall, the Rays went 20-61 on the road, the third lowest number of wins on the road by any team since 1961. On top of that, they led the major leagues in the number of leads blown with 94 and set a new American League record by losing 60 games that they had led. The Rays led in 121 games, but won only 61.

The Devil Rays were involved in two unusual triple plays in 2006; one they hit into, the other they executed themselves. On June 11 against Kansas City, they hit into the third triple play in major league history, and first since 1937, that involved an appeal. Russell Branyan flew out to center, Rocco Baldelli tried to advance to second base and was thrown out, and then Aubrey Huff was called out when the umpires ruled that he left third base early when he tagged up. Then, on September 2 against Seattle, the Rays executed a 2–6–2 triple play where the ball never touched the bat, something that had never been done before. The triple play, against the Seattle Mariners, involved a strikeout and two baserunners caught off base. Tampa pitcher J.P. Howell struck out Raúl Ibáñez. Catcher Dioner Navarro fired the ball to shortstop Ben Zobrist, who tagged out Adrián Beltré trying to steal second base. During that throw, José Lopez tried to go home from third, but Zobrist returned the ball to Navarro in time to put Lopez out at the plate, completing the first 2-6-2 triple play in MLB history.

On the positive side, the Devil Rays finished with a winning record at home (41–40) for the first time ever. Also, home attendance increased by 20% over 2005 to 1,372,193. This was the Rays' highest attendance since 2000.

During the 2006 offseason, Erik Walker, a 23-year-old pitching prospect for the Hudson Valley Renegades who had recently gone 3–1 with a 0.48 ERA during his first professional season, died in a canoeing accident on the New River in Grayson County, Virginia.

On November 15, 2006, the Devil Rays won the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura. He was signed to a three-year, $7.7-million contract on December 15, and ultimately made the 2007 Opening Day active roster. The Devil Rays paid $4.55 million USD (around ¥538 million) to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for the rights to Iwamura.

In an effort to court the Orlando, Florida, market, the Devil Rays played a series at The Ballpark (now called Champion Stadium) at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in the 2007 season. The series selected was the May 15-17 series versus the Texas Rangers. The Devil Rays swept the Rangers in that series.

The Devil Rays had the youngest starting line-up since the 1983 Minnesota Twins. One of those young players, Elijah Dukes, was put on the temporary inactive list when a St. Petersburg Times report alleged he threatened to kill his estranged wife and their children. Dukes didn't play again for the remainder of the season. On the other hand, the Rays had bright spots on the year as they were led by pitchers James Shields and Scott Kazmir, who were both exceptional. Shields put in 215 innings and would have been close to 20 wins had he not endured multiple bullpen collapses. Meanwhile, Kazmir struck out a career high 239 batters with an ERA of 3.48.

Offensively, the Devil Rays may have had their best year to that point. Tampa Bay was third in the AL in home runs (187) notably behind the New York Yankees. They also posted 131 stolen bases which also placed them third in the AL. They were led by Comeback Player of the Year, Carlos Peña who batted .282 and set Rays records in home runs (46), RBIs (121), walks (103), on-base percentage (.411), and slugging percentage (.627). He ranked fourth in the Majors in home runs and sixth in RBIs. They were also led by BJ Upton, All-Star Carl Crawford, and rookies Delmon Young and Akinori Iwamura.

With their improved offense the Devil Rays were one of baseball's best six-inning teams, but the absence of a steady bullpen wrecked many quality starts. The bullpen problem was at its worst during the first half, when the likes of Casey Fossum, Jae Seo and Edwin Jackson were just as likely to pitch two innings as five, which taxed an already mediocre bullpen by forcing them to log extra innings.

The Devil Rays compiled the worst record in baseball (66–96), finishing last in the American League East for the ninth time in their 10-season existence. The Rays signed manager Joe Maddon to a contract extension, with the club picking up the 2008 and 2009 club options.

New uniforms for the 2008 season were officially revealed on November 8, 2007.The unveiling coincided with a name change for the team, as the team was now officially called the "Tampa Bay Rays." The new team colors are "navy, Columbia blue and a touch of gold". The new team logo features a bright yellow sunburst that represents the Sunshine State of Florida. The logo and the cap insignia use the font Georgia in bold. In the original press release, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said "We are now the 'Rays' - a new and improved version of the Devil Rays." "We Are One Team," the pitch for the 2008 season was announced February 22, 2008. The phrase, as president Matt Silverman says, refers to the idea of an improved and talented team allied with the fan base across the Tampa Bay area.

While the Rays began the 2008 season with much the same lineup that ended the 2007 season, several key trades and free agent signings improved the team. The Rays traded Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. The Rays signed a two-year deal with veteran relief pitcher Troy Percival who took over closer duties. Al Reyes became the team's set-up man, until he was released mid-season. The Rays signed Cliff Floyd, who has split time at designated hitter and right field. Top third-base prospect Evan Longoria was expected to be the starter at the hot corner while the Rays also signed the #1 pick in the draft last year, pitcher David Price, who was widely recognized as one of the top players in college baseball.

The Rays finished spring training with 18 wins, a club record. They also finished with the highest winning percentage in the Grapefruit League, and tied for the highest of all teams in spring training with the Oakland Athletics. They began the regular season with a win on the road in Baltimore. This snapped a 7-game losing streak in road openers for the franchise, which was the longest active streak in the league until then.

As they did during the 2007 season, the Rays played a regular season home series at Champion Stadium in Walt Disney World for the April 22-24 series against the Toronto Blue Jays. As in the Orlando series in the previous season, the Rays won all three games.

The Rays suffered through many injuries during April and had hovered just above .500 until the end of the month. However, the sweep of the Blue Jays was followed by the team's first-ever sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Tropicana Field. In the series finale, James Shields pitched a complete game 2-hit, no walk shutout and was named AL Player of the Week. Evan Longoria was originally cut from the 25-man roster in Spring Training, but was called up early into the season. He signed a contract worth $15 million over six years. Longoria would quickly become a fan favorite by being one of the team's more productive players throughout the season.

The Rays continued their winning ways into May. At the end of play on Memorial Day, the traditional 1/3 point of the baseball season, the Rays were in first place in the AL East and owned the best record in all of major league baseball at 31-20. The Rays became the first team in modern Major League history (since 1900) to hold the best record in the league through Memorial Day, having the worst record in the league the year before. This was, by far, the best start in franchise history and marked the first time ever that the team was 11 games over .500. The Rays finished the month 12 games over .500, had the best record in the American League, and led the AL East by one game.

In June, incidents over the course of two consecutive games led to a benches clearing brawl against the Boston Red Sox increasing hostility between the two teams, which was also fueled by a tight division race between them. Carlos Peña was out for three weeks with a fractured left index finger. The Rays went 16-10 for the month of June, sporting an overall record of 50-32, were 18 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history, and led the division by 1½ games.

Within the first week of July the Rays stretched their division lead to 5½ games, but then lost seven consecutive games heading into the All-Star Break. Trailing the Red Sox for the division lead by ½ game, they still led the Wild Card. Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro were selected to play in the All-Star Game. Evan Longoria was voted into the roster by the fans in the Final Vote. This (3) was the most players the Rays had ever sent to the All-Star Game. In another franchise first, Longoria was a participant in the Home Run Derby, but was eliminated in the first round hitting only three home runs, the least of all competitors.

After going 13-12 during the month of July, the Rays, with a 63-44 record, held a division lead of 3 games over the Boston Red Sox. The Rays did not make any deals prior to the trade deadline. Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, would stress that despite no trade activity, the Rays organization had confidence in the players that had given them the best record in the division at the conclusion of July.

In August, the Rays surpassed their previous franchise record of 70 wins in one season. On August 29, they secured their first winning season, notching their 82nd victory against the Baltimore Orioles, in a 14-3 win. Despite injuries to several key players in early August including Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Troy Percival, the Rays finished August on a 5-game winning streak, compiling a record of 21–7 for the month, the best single month in franchise history. With an 84-51 overall record, the best in the league, their lead in the division grew to 5½ games going into the final month of the season.

On September 20, the Rays, with the best home record in Major League Baseball, clinched their first-ever postseason berth in franchise history. The following week, on September 26, though the Rays lost that day, they were finally able to clinch their first ever division title due to the Boston Red Sox loss to the New York Yankees.

On October 6, the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox in Game 4 of the ALDS to capture their first playoff series victory and advance to the ALCS.

On October 19, the Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS to go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

On October 29, despite having home field advantage in the series, the Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one in the World Series.

The Rays' turnaround has been mostly credited to much improved defense and pitching, especially from the bullpen. While the 2007 bullpen and defense were historically bad, stats for 2008 were among the best in the majors, and the best in franchise history.

Players who left the Rays for free agency included Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd, and Trever Miller. Jonny Gomes' contract was non-tendered, making him a free agent as well. Rocco Baldelli, who had been with the Rays organization since being drafted, left to sign with his hometown team, the Boston Red Sox. Edwin Jackson was involved in a trade that sent him to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Matt Joyce.

The Rays signed more veterans to join them for the 2009 season, such as Gabe Kapler, Morgan Ensberg, and Adam Kennedy. Their biggest move of the offseason was signing Pat Burrell, who was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies squad that defeated the Rays in the World Series, making him the fifth player since 1970 to play for a team in the first game of a season after having defeated that team in the previous World Series.

With the Rays' new payroll total above $60 million, principal owner Stuart Sternberg held a press conference shortly after the start of spring training saying that unlike previous seasons, the Rays had no more flexibility to make any more additions during the upcoming season. He did add however, that "you never say never" and things may be different come mid-season. In the 2008 season, it was made well known in the media that despite the Rays being contenders the entire season, attendance was still among the lowest in the league. Sternberg stated in his press conference that after doing research, the only team that did not have an average attendance higher than the league average in the season following a World Series appearance was the Florida Marlins, who did so twice after each of their championship seasons. He accepted that the Rays might become the third occurrence, saying about the 2008 season, "it wasn't the best year to win," because of the current state of the economy.

These statistics are current as of April 7, 2009. Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.

Tampa Bay's primary rivals are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The rivalries from these teams stem from the number of fans in the Tampa Bay area who are transplants from these two locations and continue to root for these teams, as well as the Yankees making Tampa their spring training home. Prior to the 2008 season, Red Sox and Yankee games often drew considerably higher attendance figures to games at Tropicana Field versus the average for other games, the result being a fan bias for these teams on the road. The Florida Marlins are also a rival due to their in-state proximity, though this rivalry is only really visited upon in the Interleague period each season.

The Tampa Bay Rays have retired two numbers. These numbers are displayed to the left of the center field scoreboard and "K Counter" on a small wall.

Jackie Robinson's number 42 was retired by all of Major League Baseball.

As of 2009, the Rays' flagship radio station is WDAE 620 AM. The announcers are Dave Wills and Andy Freed. Rich Herrera is the pregame and postgame host, and the radio producer. This team replaced Paul Olden and Charlie Slowes as of the 2005 season. Slowes went to the Washington Nationals, while Olden pursued a photography career. Rays games have been aired on WFLA 970 AM (1998-2004) and WHNZ 1250 AM (2005-2008) in the past.

Fox Sports Florida broadcasts the Rays' games on television. Through the 2008 season, many games also aired on Ion Television affiliate broadcast stations throughout the state of Florida, with WXPX in Tampa as the flagship. However, after the 2008 season, Fox Sports Florida signed an agreement to become the exclusive local broadcaster of the Rays, and will air 155 games per year through 2016. Dewayne Staats (play-by-play) and Joe Magrane (color commentary) had been the TV team from the Rays' inception until the end of the 2008 season. Todd Kalas, the son of Philadelphia announcing legend Harry Kalas, serves as the pregame and postgame host as well as a field reporter during games. Todd also hosts magazine shows and specials on FSN Florida and its sister station, Sun Sports, throughout the season. Dick Crippen and Whit Watson have both filled in for Todd Kalas in the past.

Joe Magrane left the Rays television network in November 2008 to take a position at the MLB Network. On February 16, 2009, it was announced that Kevin Kennedy would replace Magrane, but split the duty with Brian Anderson and Todd Kalas. Anderson and Kalas had been in the booth for a few games with Staats while Magrane was in China for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Staats, Magrane, Kalas, Wills, Olden and Slowes were all nominated for the Ford C. Frick Award, the broadcasters' path to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2008.

Fox Sports Florida began broadcasting a portion of the schedule in HD beginning in 2007, after Tropicana Field's broadcast equipment was upgraded for in-house HD production. About 44 games were carried in HD in 2007, and 58 games were carried in HD in 2008 (not including nationally-televised games).

Most households in the Greater Orlando area could not see Rays games aired on Fox Sports Florida in the past because its primary cable provider, Bright House Networks, refused to carry the network. However, Bright House in Orlando finally placed FS Florida on the air for digital cable subscribers on 2009-01-01.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were featured in the movie, The Rookie, a 2002 drama, directed by John Lee Hancock. It is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who had a brief but famous Major League Baseball career.

Morris (at the age of 35) had the ability to repeatedly throw the baseball at 98 miles per hour (158 km/h), a feat that less than ten professional baseball players at the time could accomplish. This ability affords him the opportunity to play professional baseball and he signs on with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He is initially assigned to the minor league Class AA Orlando Rays (now the Montgomery Biscuits) but quickly moved up to the AAA Durham Bulls, later to be called up to the "bigs" during the September Roster expansions.

James Morris spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, as a relief pitcher. He pitched 15 innings in 21 games, with an earned run average of 4.80.

The Rays' Cowbell was originally a promotional idea thought up by principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who got the idea from the Saturday Night Live sketch. Since then, it has become a standard feature of home games, something akin to the Sacramento Kings of the NBA and the bells their fans ring during games. Road teams have often considered the cowbell a nuisance. Once a year the Rays hold an annual "cowbell night" and give away free cowbells. Cowbells are available for purchase throughout the year as well. The most famous proponent of the cowbell is Cary Strukel, who is known as "The Cowbell Kid." Strukel can be seen at most home games sitting in right field and wearing some kind of costume, typically topped with a neon colored wig or Viking horns. The cowbells are rung most prominently when the opposing batter has two strikes, when the opposing fans try to chant, and when the Rays make a good play.

Rays games are frequently visited by professional wrestlers, as there are a large number of wrestlers living in the Tampa Bay Area. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan all appear on a semi-regular basis at Rays games. John Cena appears on occasion.

The Rays held a "Legends of Wrestling Night" on May 18, 2007, featuring several wrestling matches after the game, an 8–4 loss to the Florida Marlins. Outfielder and wrestling fan Jonny Gomes ran interference for the Nasty Boys during the main event.

A second "Wrestling Night" was held on April 19, 2008, after a 5–0 win over the Chicago White Sox. Gomes participated again, this time making a post-match save for the Nasty Boys.

Dick Vitale has been a season ticket holder for the Rays ever since the team's inception in 1998. Currently, he sits behind home plate on the third base (visitor's) side.

9=8 (spoken as "nine equals eight") was the mantra used by the Rays during the 2008 season. The phrase was originally created by manager Joe Maddon while riding his bike after the 2007 season. The meaning of the phrase was that if nine players play nine innings of hard baseball everyday, that team would become one of the eight teams who qualify for the playoffs. Prior to 2008 season, the Rays had never had a winning season in franchise history, much less a playoff appearance.

After a slow start to the 2008 season, the Rays began to pick up speed and found themselves among the best teams in the league that year. Maddon had blue t-shirts made with the phrase on the back in yellow, representing the team's new colors, and gave them to the players during the season. His idea to put the slogan on the back of the shirt, rather than the front, was that a person who was walking behind someone wearing the shirt would see it.

Rays right fielder Gabe Gross, who was acquired by the team through a trade early into the 2008 campaign, said it was as much 9=8 as it was more along the lines of 13=8, because the Rays had many players contributing to the team's success that season.

The Rays played well enough throughout the year, that they surpassed their previous team record for wins in a single season by more than 20 wins, and ultimately clinched a spot in the 2008 MLB Playoffs for their first postseason appearance in franchise history. As the phrase 9=8 had come to fruition, Maddon stated that the phrase also meant that theory and reality had come together.

With each level the Rays reached, the equation was changed. After they clinched their playoff spot, it became 9=4, to represent the teams advancing to the LCS. When they won the ALDS, it became 9=2, for the teams advancing to the World Series. When they won the ALCS, it became 9=1, representing the possible World Series Championship. In the end, they did not win the World Series, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.

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2003 Major League Baseball Draft

The 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft, was held on June 3 and 4. It was conducted via conference call with representatives from each of the league's 30 teams.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays selected Camarillo High School outfielder Delmon Young with the first overall pick.

Young (6-3, 205 pounds) batted .541 (33-for-61) with seven home runs, 28 RBI in 22 games as a senior this spring for Camarillo. He was named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year in 2002 and was one of only three juniors selected as first team 2002 All-Americans. He became the first junior to be named California State Player of the Year since Eric Chavez in 1995.

At the World Junior Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal while batting .513 with a tournament-record eight home runs and 19 RBI in 38 at-bats.

The 17-year-old Young is the younger brother of Dmitri Young of the Detroit Tigers, who was an expansion draft pick of the Rays, but never played in the organization. They became the first set of brothers to be taken within the first five selections of the draft. Dmitri was the 4th player selected by the Cardinals in the 1991 draft.

Pitchers Ryan Wagner (Cincinnati), Chad Cordero (Montreal), David Aardsma (San Francisco) and infielder Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee) all reached the Major League level in less than a year.

Chad Cordero was the first 2003 draftee to be selected to an All-Star Game, selected in 2005. Abe Alvarez, drafted in the 2nd round, was the first 2003 draftee to win a World Series championship, although he was not on the 2004 Red Sox postseason roster. Anthony Reyes, drafted in the 15th round, was the first to be on a winning World Series roster.

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Jason Kubel

Jason James Kubel (born May 25, 1982 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota) is a Major League Baseball designated hitter for the Minnesota Twins. He bats left and throws right. His ability to hit for average while maintaining plate discipline could make him a middle of the order type of hitter. He is also well known for his strong arm, typically from right field. He played at Highland High School in Palmdale, California.

During the 2008 season, Kubel primarily played in the designated hitter slot due to the acquisition of left fielder Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Corky Miller

Miller with the Braves in 2008.

Corky Abraham Phillip Miller (born March 18, 1976 in Yucaipa, California) is a Major League Baseball catcher for the Chicago White Sox. Miller has also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves in MLB and in the Seattle Mariners organization.

He was signed by the Boston Red Sox on April 25, 2006, and added to the Pawtucket Red Sox Triple-A roster. While at Pawtucket, Miller gained some national attention by being behind the plate when Tampa Bay Devil Rays prospect Delmon Young tossed his bat at and hit an umpire on April 26, 2006.

Miller was promoted to Boston on August 5, 2006, but his tenure in Boston would not last long. After appearing in just one game (a 7-6 defeat against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on August 6, 2006), Miller would be designated for assignment on August 14, 2006, to make room for Craig Breslow, who was promoted from Pawtucket. Miller was granted free agency after the season and signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.

On July 31, 2007, the Braves called up Miller to fill up the backup catcher role after previous backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was traded that day. He made his debut on August 2, hitting a pinch-hit infield single. On August 5, Miller hit a game-tying RBI double, his first extra-base hit since 2002, against the Colorado Rockies. On September 15, Miller hit his first home run since 2002.

On August 1, 2008, Miller was designated for assignment, and was eventually sent outright to the minors. He returned to the Braves active roster on September 1. He became a free agent at the end of the season and signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.

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Source : Wikipedia