Tampa Bay Devils Rays to Possibly Change Nickname
Name could be big change
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG - The team on the field might not reflect it, but the Devil Rays organization is undergoing significant change.
With a fresh approach and attitude under the new ownership and management, there are millions being spent to upgrade the facility and improve the fan experience. There are creative executives being hired, and holdover ones being empowered. There are all kinds of innovative concepts (clean restrooms! a decent sound system!) floating around along with new ideas, such as plans for a huge touch tank of live rays on the right-centerfield patio.
Bigger news might be coming.
Top officials are privately talking about ideas that would change the entire look and identity of the team for the 2007 season - from the name to the colors to the logos to the uniforms.
At the least, it seems likely the word "Devil" will be dropped, as it already is in some official team references. Then a decision has to be made whether to continue associating Rays with the sea creatures or to connect with the sun. Or there could be a new name, such as the Tampa Bay Tarpons.
The name issue likely will drive the others, and it reasons that if one is changed they all will be, and done neatly to commemorate what will be marketed as the 10th anniversary season.
Discussions are very much preliminary. Concepts have to be designed. Focus groups need to be convened. MLB officials have to be consulted. Procedures must be followed, including a March 31 deadline to notify MLB of a possible change and details by May 31. Decisions have to be made.
The team on the field in 2007 is expected to be considerably better. From the sound of the whispers, it will look considerably different too.