There have been a number of MLB rivalries over the years between various clubs and towns. For a variety of reasons, including geographical closeness, familiarity with opponents, and other situations, rivalries have sprung up. Cultural, linguistic, and national pride have all been factors.
There were eight clubs in each league during (1901–60), which meant that every team in every league faced each other 22 times every season.
When the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks were added to the American League in 1961 as expansion teams, MLB increased the total number of games played by American League teams to 162, which meant that teams would face each other 18 times a season.
Who are Tampa Bay Rays Biggest rivals?
BOSTON RED SOX:
The Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays have a long history of animosity and on-field incidents dating back to the 1998 season when the Rays were founded. Even though the Rays are still a young team, the rivalry between the Rays and Red Sox has had a chance to grow in the little time they’ve had. Observe how enmity has grown over the past twenty years between these bitter American League East rivals.
It all began when Tampa Bay’s baseball team was known as the “Devil Rays.” Baseball’s most memorable brawls generally include a fight from 2000. Pedro Martinez’s demeanor on the mound matched his powerful arm, so it was no wonder that he was in the center of this.
Gerald Williams stormed the mound after Martinez struck him on the wrist in the opening at-bat of the game, and Martinez was able to land a powerful blow before the benches had even emptied. Only Martinez was spared from dismissal in that game; he went on to throw a no-hitter for the Rays before it was broken up in the ninth inning.
Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays is referred to as the Citrus Series in Major League Baseball. The Florida Marlins were the first team to enter the league in 1993, while the Tampa Bay Devil Rays debuted in 1998. On June 22, 1998, during the Rays’ debut season, the two clubs met for the first time at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
However, both teams have been to the Fall Classic. There were two World Series appearances in 1997 and 2003 when the Marlins prevailed and two in 2008 and 2020 where the Rays were defeated by the Marlins.
THE NEW YORK YANKEES:
In spring training of 2008, the rivalry between Tampa Bay and the Yankees grew much tenser than it had been in the past. Tampa Bay outfielder Elliot Johnson and New York catcher Francisco Cervelli got into a verbal altercation during that spring training game after colliding at home plate.
Shelley Duncan of the Yankees slammed into Akinori Iwamura of the Rays with a spikes-high slide the next day, which prompted Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes to run in from the right field and knock Duncan to the ground. Since nothing more progressed and regular-season games continued without incident, this was essentially the end of ill blood between the teams.
Tampa Bay becomes one of America’s favorite teams whenever they fight the Red Sox or Yankees for the American League East championship.