Rays pleased with new look

Rays pleased with new look

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ten years. Three uniforms. Three men's opinions on the simple, classy new look.

As far as Rays apparel goes, they'll stand as experts: Fred McGriff, who played for Tampa Bay from 1998 to 2001, and again in 2004; Tom Foley, who has been with the organization since 1996; and Dave Martinez, who, like McGriff, played for the Rays in their inaugural season in 1998.

"This blue and white is pretty sharp," Martinez, the Rays' bench coach, commented shortly after the team unveiled its new look to the public. "I really like it. I think it's even a step up from the uniforms from last year."

The Rays modeled what will be their official uniforms during a fashion show at Straub Park on the waterfront on Thursday, and drew rave reviews from a crowd that numbered in the thousands. The organization chose to step away from its traditional green colors and is going with a navy "Rays" logo instead, outlined in white and shadowed in light blue.

A yellow sunburst that Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said was made to represent the Florida sunshine twinkles toward the top of the "R," and there is a patch of a ray on the uniform's sleeve.

Lots of words were tossed around on Thursday night, including "not too busy," "elegant," "professional" and "classic."

All in all, everyone seemed pleased with the results of nearly a year of brainstorming, including McGriff, Foley and Martinez, who'd been there during some darker, albeit more colorful times.

"I don't know about that purple," joked Martinez of the Rays' inaugural uniforms, which were not only purple, they boldly announced "DEVIL RAYS" across the front in teal, green and yellow, and featured a devil ray swimming across the bottom of the name. "It's an all-around better uniform this year, and definitely 100 percent better than the originals."

Foley, the Rays' third-base coach, defended the original garb, but concurred with Martinez that the newest ones are the best.

"All of the jerseys were fine," Foley said. "It was exciting when the first uniforms came out. It was a special thing; a new ballclub, new uniforms. ... A lot of people liked the [more recent] green, too.

"I really like this one, though. The change was definitely a good one."

Sternberg said that the process took between six and nine months to complete and included everything from brainstorming ideas for the logo to working with Major League Baseball to that ensure the color scheme and lettering were unique to the Rays.

All the work appeared worth it, as fans, coaches and players alike praised the look. The jerseys also got the McGriff seal of approval.

"I like this a little bit better," said the Rays' special adviser, who had the opportunity to play in all three uniforms during his career. "The original uniforms weren't too bad, and watching the team over the last couple of years, they've had some good choices.

"I think these are great for a change, but the players still have to go out and play the game."

That is something Foley will definitely looking forward to in the coming winter months.

"The first few months [of the season], other players will make comments out on the field to our guys, that may have a carry-on effect to the game play," he said. "There have been a lot of good changes [since the new management took over]. I looked forward to seeing the jerseys, and I'm anxious to finally see them out there on the field."

Dawn Klemish is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.