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Rays set to celebrate 20th anniversary in '18

Club will sport special logo, along with retro caps, jerseys
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg stepped to the microphone during a Wednesday morning media conference and he declared with a smile, "The Super Bowl's over. It's baseball time."

Sternberg's comments came inside the clubhouse, where plans for celebrating the team's 20th anniversary were unveiled, including a video highlighting exciting moments from seasons past.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg stepped to the microphone during a Wednesday morning media conference and he declared with a smile, "The Super Bowl's over. It's baseball time."

Sternberg's comments came inside the clubhouse, where plans for celebrating the team's 20th anniversary were unveiled, including a video highlighting exciting moments from seasons past.

The time "has gone by in a flash," said Sternberg, who reminisced about Dan Johnson's Game 162 home run, and Akinori Iwamura stepping on second base for the final out of the 2008 American League Championship Series that sent the Rays to the World Series.

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"We are excited to celebrate 20 years of playing Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay. The festivities this year will bring smiles to faces as we recall the many colorful moments and incredible accomplishments of the last two decades. I'm grateful for all Rays staff, fans and supporters, who have done so much to make these 20 years so special for Tampa Bay."

Items of interest that will help the team and fans commemorate the special season were displayed around the clubhouse.

Prominent among those items was the 20th anniversary logo that will appear on the left sleeve of all Rays 2018 regular-season jerseys and caps. The home-plate shaped patch features the number 20, a sunburst and a variation of the original fish -- all in the Rays' modern colors.

On four select home games, the Rays will wear a white alternate throwback Devil Rays jersey using the original Devil Rays design, worn from 1998 through 2000. For those four games, along with select home and road games, the club will wear a newly designed navy blue retro cap that blends the original and current designs.

Other parts of the season-long celebration will include tributes to the 1998 and 2008 teams, assorted bobbleheads, ticket specials, and other giveaways. Also, fans can expect players from the past and present to be on hand at different times this season.

"We would like to have a bunch of surprises this season," Sternberg said.

On Wednesday, the Rays also announced their partnership with Levy and its retail division, Rank + Rally, to dramatically overhaul the food, beverage and retail experience at Tropicana Field. The Rays are investing $4 million in capital improvements to renovate these amenities, update culinary equipment, and invest in new technologies. The changes will include modernized "food halls" in the first- and third-base concourses and major updates to the center field experience.

"We want to make this a really special year," Sternberg said.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays