The team’s president, Matt Silverman, told a group of Tampa business leaders Thursday that there will be “some sort of a change” in the Devil Rays name.
The club is looking at either dropping “Devil” from the name and calling the team the “Rays” or creating a completely new name, Silverman said, elaborating on the name issue in an interview after speaking at a quarterly luncheon meeting of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“When [new owner] Stu Sternberg came in, he said there was a need for dramatic change. One way for dramatic change is to change the name,” Silverman said.
After talking with fans in focus groups, the team learned there was a “negative association” with the terms, “Devil Rays,” and “devil,” Silverman said.
“When they liked something we did, they would refer to us as the Rays. If they were discussing a complaint or gripe, we were the Devil Rays,” Silverman said.
The last time a team changed its nickname without moving to a different city was in 1965 when the Houston Colt .45s became the Astros.
I don’t wanna act like we’re investigating James Frey or anything, but there’s something implausible about this story. Where did Silverman find enough Devil Rays fans to constitute a focus group?