The Tampa Bay Rays play in the city of St. Petersburg but don’t mention that city in any of their branding — something that’s long been a sore point among St. Pete residents and politicos. But it looks like the team may be looking to throw their host city a uni-related bone.
According to a report from StPeteCatalyst.com, “The Rays will petition Major League Baseball to wear St. Petersburg-branded uniforms during at least one home game per season.”
The article also has this quote from Doyle Walsh, chief of staff to St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch: “Mayor Welch’s administration has requested that the Rays’ leadership also go back and look at ways to increase opportunities to wear these uniforms. They’ve agreed, and they’re working with MLB on that.”
Interesting! The full “St. Petersburg” moniker would probably be unwieldy to fit on a jersey (with 12 letters plus a period and a space, it has more characters than “San Francisco”), but I imagine they’d just go with “St. Pete.”
It’s worth noting that the Rays are among the 10 MLB teams that do not yet have a City Connect uniform. That would be a perfect opportunity to showcase the city that the team actually plays in, right? But a jersey that would be worn for “at least one home game per season” doesn’t sound like CC.
According to Bill Henderson’s jersey guide, the Rays wore throwbacks based on St. Petersburg minor league teams four times from 2000 through 2008, but only one of those jerseys had the city name on the chest:
In case you’re wondering: The Buccaneers and Lightning play in Tampa, so the St. Pete folks don’t have any issues with them — just with the Rays.
(My thanks to Matthew Wolfram and Phil for bringing this story to my attention.)