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The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that competes in Major League Baseball (MLB). They are currently a member of the East Division of the American League. Since their inception, their home venue has been Tropicana Field.
Following nearly three decades of unsuccessfully trying to gain an expansion franchise or enticing existing teams to relocate to the Tampa Bay area, an ownership group led by Vince Naimoli was approved in 1995. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays began play in the 1998 Major League Baseball season.
Their first decade of play, however, was marked by futility; they finished in last place in the American League East in all but the 2004 season, when they finished second-to-last. Following the 2007 season, Stuart Sternberg, who had purchased controlling interest in the team from Vince Naimoli two years earlier, changed the team's name from "Devil Rays" to "Rays," now meant to primarily refer to a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray (though a manta ray logo remains on the uniform sleeves). The 2008 season saw the Tampa Bay Rays post their first winning season, their first AL East championship, and their first pennant (defeating the rival Boston Red Sox in the ALCS), though they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in that year's World Series. Since then, the Rays have been consistent contenders, gaining postseason berths in 2010, 2011, and 2013, though they have not advanced past the first round of the postseason since their 2008 run.
The Tampa Bay Rays' chief rivals are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Regarding the former, there have been several notable on-field incidents. The Rays also have an intrastate rivalry with the National League's Miami Marlins (originally the Florida Marlins), whom they play in the "Citrus Series". The Rays trail the series 46-47.