For the first time since a radical redesign going into the 2008 season, the Tampa Bay Rays have a new logo.
Granted, the change for 2019 isn’t nearly as large as the one 11 years prior, but it does place more prominence on the name itself and the sunburst inside the logo.
The styling of the wordmark and the sunburst remain from the 2008 redesign, but the baseball diamond that surrounded the logo has been removed. It’s a minimalist style that was also adopted by Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles this past offseason, as both clubs made logo tweaks that involved removing elements from their previous logo.
The team quietly made the change after wrapping up their 20th anniversary season in 2018. The special logo for that occasion prominently featured the sunburst, so it may not be a coincidence that it has been made to stand out more in the new logo.
The colors also remain the same. The different shades of blue were enacted in the 2008 change when the franchise went from being the Devil Rays (in green, white, and black colors) to the current Rays moniker.
When the change was made, the team announced that the hues of blue represented the deep blue water and bright blue sky that Florida is known for.
Principal owner Stu Sternberg called the sunburst “a beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida.”
The rebranding was changed going into the franchise’s second decade of existence to create a fresh start with new ownership. Prior to 2008, the Devil Rays had finished in the last place in the American League East in all but one season and never finished with a record above .500.
In 2008 – the first year with the new logo – the Rays shocked the baseball world by advancing all the way to the World Series, before losing to the Phillies in five games.
Since then, the Rays have made the playoffs three more times and are well-known as a franchise that is continually able to put a winning team on the field despite a small payroll and an inability to sign superstar free agents. Through good drafting and shrewd trading, the Rays generally have fielded competitive teams under former manager Joe Maddon and current skipper Kevin Cash.
Now, if you’re thinking about logo changes for the club’s 30th anniversary season, it may be more drastic than the most recent change. The team’s lease at Tropicana Field is up after the 2027 MLB campaign, and news came out during the 2019 season that Major League Baseball has given the team permission to explore playing half of the team’s home games in Montreal. This comes as both the communities of St. Petersburg (where the team currently plays) and Tampa have thus far been unable to reach a deal for a new stadium with Sternberg.
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