4/29/2014 8:19 P.M. ET
Since name change, Rays have flourished
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox was the Rays' 1,000th game as the Rays.
Originally called the Devil Rays, the team switched to Rays prior to the 2008 season. The team's first game as the Rays came on March 31, 2008, in a 6-2 win vs. the Orioles at Camden Yards.
"We're really proud," said manager Joe Maddon when asked about how well the team has done since the team changed names. "This is something that we envisioned when we first began in 2006. It was a lot more difficult to imagine at that time. ... Now it's up to us to sustain it and build upon it. Establish a tradition."
Maddon and the present ownership took over prior to the 2006 season, a time when the organization's culture had to be changed. That change did not come to fruition until '08, and it coincided with the name change.
The Rays would go on to win their first American League East crown with a 97-65 record, beat the White Sox in the AL Division Series and win an epic seven-game AL Championship Series vs. the Red Sox before losing to the Phillies in the World Series.
"We had to really confront the Yankees and the Red Sox in order to ascend in our division -- and actually, the confrontation was physical during that 2008 year," Maddon said. "It became physical. Nobody's going to give you anything, ever. You have to earn your respect, you have to earn your stripes, all of that.
"That's the part about this. If you're proud of one thing it's that you earned your right to be considered this right now. And it started that year. We played better, we had different personnel. But we fought for our turf, and I think when we did that there was a different perspective coming from [opposing dugouts]."
Myers uses playoff miscue as learning moment
BOSTON -- Wil Myers can now smile about the notoriety he gained at Fenway Park in October.
In Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 4, 2013, David Ortiz hit a deep fly ball to right field in the bottom of the fourth. Myers, who would win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, called for the ball, but he peeled off ever so slightly when he saw Desmond Jennings out of the corner of his eye. The ball fell in for a ground-rule double, opening the door to a five-run inning and proved to be a pivotal moment during Boston's 12-2 victory.
In the aftermath of Myers' botched fly ball, Red Sox fans taunted him by chanting his name. Fenway's public flogging, though memorable, has not left a scar on Myers, who has managed to roll with the punches.
"I'm excited to get back here after the playoffs, and you know, as bad as it was last year, it was kind of cool to have all the Fenway faithful chanting my name," Myers said. "It's kind of cool. It stunk that it happened, but the whole stadium cheering my name was kind of cool."
Myers admitted to being surprised the fans reacted as quickly as they did last year.
"I was definitely not expecting that," Myers said, "but the fans here are smart baseball fans. They knew that play really turned the momentum. They're smart what they did."
Myers expected to hear from Red Sox fans Tuesday night and for the remainder of the season, so he took a proactive strike on Tuesday when he tweeted: "Where everybody knows your name. #Boston #Cheers."
"I was just trying to make light of things and just try to move past what happened," Myers said.
Myers allowed that last year's gaffe "stayed with me for most of the offseason."
"Just to know that that play kind of turned the series -- especially the momentum," Myers said. "It really helped me work hard during this offseason to get better, and it's definitely something I learned from a playoff experience."
Manager Joe Maddon conceded how difficult the moment was for Myers.
"But he's going to be playing here for many more years to come," Maddon said with a smile. "I'd like to see him make friends with the people in right field, and that would be a great thing. That's all he needs to do. The fans of Boston are spectacular baseball fans. They're having a lot of fun and Wil's a great kid himself. Hopefully it will play out in a good way."
Archer views Red Sox as Rays' top rival
BOSTON -- Chris Archer, who will start Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox, told reporters he can't get caught up in the excitement and atmosphere of playing at Fenway Park.
"I have to consciously control it, because I don't want the emotion of the rivalry [to affect my performance], because they're our biggest rival," Archer said. "I don't know if we're theirs, but that's irrelevant. They're our biggest rival.
"So I try to put that on the back burner and treat it like any other game. I know that it's important. But over the course of the season, when you're playing Wild Card play-in games, Game 163 and all of that, every game is equally important -- and that's what I constantly remind myself."
Manager Joe Maddon would not commit to calling the Red Sox the Rays' top rival, but he understood why Archer would identify Boston as such.
"Archie's a wonderful young man, he's very bright," Maddon said. "He's introspective and he's thoughtful and he's all those things. So he might say something like that where the average baseball fan might not take it to that level. So I'm OK with his thoughts regarding that. I respect it.
"The big thing he'll also tell you [what] he has to do is control the controlables, and do the things he's capable of doing on that night and not do too much."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.