Rays Banner Ceremony Photo Blog

 

 

 

Prior to the beginning of tonight’s game against the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays had a bit of business to resolve with their decor in their domed stadium. It seems that a few articles that were needed to spruce up the joint were not in place yet, and they wanted to get this business finished before the game began. So about 6:45 pm tonight, the Rays began a much needed and truly memorable ceremony where the team was to finally going to place those two fine banners in their respective place over left field just under the “D” ring.

 

 

The ceremony began with the Raysvision crew showing a tribute video to the team from their humble beginnings in April 2008, until the final out in the World Series in Philadelphia . It was a long, long road, and it was great to see the pride and the attention each players and coach gave to this short video before the ceremony on the field officially began.  There were flame throwers that doused the air inside the Trop with a heat unknown to us before today. the video and the players reaction made even the wily vets seem to tear up a bit in remembering how we got there in 2008. But when Fernando Perez first poked his head out of the Rays dugout with the rolled up American League East Championship banner on his shoulders emotions ran high throughout the stadium.

 

 

 


As every player and coach on the Rays walked from the dugout around the clay infield of the Trop., upon the Field Turf II that was the site of the American League Championship clinching game, Every fan in the entire stadium, even  some of the Yankees faithful stood and cheered for the accomplishment of 2008.   For us to be able to hoist these banners in the presence of the team that has multitudes of World Championships, Divisional and A L Pennants to their credits might have seemed a bit pointed to some, but the evolution of the Rays turned the corner in 2008, and the Yankees had a front row seat at their upward climb.

 





 

Upon reaching the 370 sign on the left-center field wall, the team gathered and help roll out the first banner to be hoisted into the air tonight. After the banner was attached to eye clips, the paratroopers representing the Central Command at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, began their down ward fall, which also keyed the hoisting of the American League East Championship banner to the rafters of Tropicana Field. Players just stood in awe of the massive banner going upward and onward and several were huddled towards the wall getting a view of the raising from a complete underneath angle.  After this first banner took its rightful place in the rafters of the Trop., the team made their way to the second banner and began to repeat the same procedures.





 
 

Next to be lifted for eternity into the rafters among the “D” ring at Tropicana Field was the American League Championship banner. Most of the players by then were huddled together under this banner also and were talking amongst themselves probably trying to remember moments and situation that took place only a few months ago. You could see emotion on some of their faces as to the effort and the struggle they under took to get this championship for the Rays.  The fans remained standing the entire time clapping and screaming and whistling during the entire time the banner was slowly lifted into place again by the Special Forces members from McDill AFB.  Upon the completion of the two banners being immortalized among the heavens in Tropicana Field, hundreds of flash bulbs and  a huge rush of emotions and pride surfaced in the entire stadium as the roars and cheers got louder and louder . It was a tremendous sight, and a blessing to witness tonight. As the first picture stated, ” The Magic continues Tonight.”

 
 
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

As much as the Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans want to take this moment from us, we stand proud tonight in the triumphs and the sweat produced by our 2008 ban of players and staff. From the Team Owner on down to the Clubhouse Attendants, this is a ceremony for everyone on the field, and in the stands. Hundreds of people in the offices and the cubbyholes of the Trop tonight are celebrating this crowning achievement. We are on the path to try and duplicate our journey, but we also know that the path will be riddled with more holes and traps than in 2008. But hopefully, we can make the journey again, and be proud in what ever course the season takes us in 2009.
 
 

But for tonight, we are the reigning American League Pennant winners, and the current divisional winners of one of the toughest divisions in baseball. It is going to be a long and hard season, but with an event like this that was witnessed by a sellout crowd, the pressure to win and to repeat is growing stronger every day. It was fun the first time we did it, think of the deja vu of even attempting it again.  I would be willing to go through it all again, how about you?

 
All Photos are from RRCollections tonight.

16 Comments

‘The Magic Continues Tonight’, I’ll say. A 15-5 throttling of the Yankees is a pretty good way to start the first homestand of the season. Hopefully you guys can do it again tomorrow night! Great pics too, btw. Looks like it was just a really special night for the Rays, both before and then during the game.-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Awesome night tonight. As my cable get switched in the morning I spent most of tonight listening to the game on 620 am. Brought back alot of childhood memories of listening to the game on the radio. At least tonight the station didn’t fade out everytime a big play occured. It’s ok though memories like that are what make baseball special to all of us. I will be able to see all the games starting with tomorrows. I hope the boys saved some offense for me after tonights blistering 15 run smoking of the yanks !

Ohh yeah, How about Jason Bartletts start this year ? 2 homers already, he has last year beat already in the HR dept. and hitting 462 or so. I expected Evans fast start but Bartletts is a nice surprise.

This was one of the greatest nights in Rays history. They raise championship banners and then destroy the Yankees by ten runs. Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett and… almost everybody else made contributions to a great winning effort. Let’s ride this wave of momentum into a winning streak through the entire Championship Week.Brentonhttp://braverays.mlblogs.com

Rays – Congrats! What a great way to raise the banners – with paratroopers! Your guys gave the Yankees a thrashing! And the Rays have answered the question – Last year was not a fluke!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Erin,
It was the kind of night I truly hope you can one day experience with your Twins.
The emotional level and the excitement in the air was incredible.
The game’s action was just an added bonus.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rogburg,
We might have to check Bartlett’s bats for cork…..just kidding. The guy took a huge amount of heat for being the Rays selection as the Team MVP last year.
But right now he is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, and making plays from the edge of the clay and carpet.
Marriage agrees with him.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Brenton, the game was a total team effort from top to bottom.
But you know what, the entire stadium from the fans to the players all knew the importance of getting out early against the Yankees.
But I do not think anyone would have guessed it would be 10-0 by the end of the third inning.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Julia,
I know understand all the hype and crap we take from Boston ans New York about winning.
The atmosphere last night was so energetic.
I can see how that electric feeling can be like a drug and you want to win every year.
I know I would love to drive the bandwagon one more time, but this time I want it closer to the ground so I can push off some of the obnoxious bandwagon fans.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Great job by the Rays to thrash the Yankees after the pregame pomp! The Phillies seemed to get a little distracted by their ceremony. Looks like the Rays are off to a great start!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Kind of fitting to raise the banners before a series against the Yankees. For some many years, we’ve been the ones to watch their banners being raised. I got to watch some highlights on the Net this morning. Man, energetic doesn’t seem to cut it…the crowd was amazing to watch. I hope the magic sticks around for a very long time.
Keep driving that bandwagon, just don’t kick me off! LOL!
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

The division this year is a hodge podge.
We have the Blue Jays and the Orioles doing their usual run at the top, with the big three all playing each other and knocking each other down a peg or two.
It is fun, fun fun, and Daddy’s can’t even find the T-bird.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

The only fans I have a problem with are the one who wear the home colors to games 72 times a year, then wear their old team’s for their 9 home games against the Rays.
Besides that, I have no big issues.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cool pics, RR. How lucky you are to have witnessed it first hand. Perhaps that banner raising was what the Rays needed to go on an offensive tear the last couple of games, eh?
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

A.L. East Champs! How I wish I could say that! It has been 15 years for me.

Truly an amazing accomplishment. The Yankees and Red Sox have dominated the division.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
I had won championships in college, and also conference titles, but the excitement in that air last night was the most charged up environment I have had the pleasure to be in before….It was magical.
I know I might have used that phrase, “Magical Season” a bit too much in 2008 with the Rays, but that is how I truly view it.
Hope we can duplicate it, or make even better magic in 2009.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think the only team to hold the division since the Blue Jays did it besides Boston and New York was Baltimore, and that was only for one season.
I am getting a chance tomorrow to put on one of those “real” rings when a friend on the team brings it out after the afternoon game.
His ring size is the same as mine, so I am extra excited.
I wonder if he will take three of the repilca rings for this one………..

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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