Future Bulls Practice at Devil Ray Camp
Posted March 3, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
TAMPA, FL — Baseball should be pretty neat this spring with the Durham Bulls going AAA to be the affiliate of the the new Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Bulls will be popular no matter what their affiliation, but their parent team has certainly caught fire in Florida.
Since 1913, major league baseball has been a part of the Bay area, but only through spring training in February and March. There's nothing like the smell on sunscreen in the winter, and the phrase "catching rays" takes on a whole new meaning.
We're talking Devil Rays-- baseball that is. The fans now have a major league team of their own.
"You can hear about them," says Devil Rays fan, Tom Muehlenweg. "You can read about them in the paper, but now you actually see the product out on the field. I'm tickled pink to see it."
Fans aren't just flocking to workouts, the Devil Rays have already sold over 22,000 season tickets for the inaugural season.
"The first year, we expect to draw over three million people to Tropicana Field to see the first year club." says manager Larry Rothschild. "They've waited so long for baseball here. They key is if those fans continue to come out in the second and third year."
I guess you could say the Devil Rays and Bay area fans are on a baseball honeymoon. How long it lasts depends on what happens between the lines.