Rays’ City Connect uniforms a hit with players, staff and kids

Rays’ City Connect uniforms a hit with players, staff and kids

MILWAUKEE — Manager Kevin Cash, who obviously keeps secrets well, got a text message Monday morning from his daughter, Camden, an 11th grader at school in St. Petersburg.

The Rays had just unveiled their City Connect uniforms, which will be worn for the first time this weekend, and Camden was among the many following along on social media to see what they had come up with.

“She was excited. Her classmates were excited,” Cash said. “I thought they were pretty cool.”

With a counter-culture skateboard theme, neon highlights on dark gray pants and a faded black jersey, plus a handful of clever touches, including a “SkyRay” hat, the uniforms and accompanying merchandise have been well-received.

The men who have to wear them to work like them, too.

“Honestly, not even trying to be biased, I think our guys knocked it out of the park,” said reliever Jason Adam. “Better than any other City Connects I’ve seen.”

“Sick,” said outfielder Richie Palacios. “I absolutely love them. My favorite color when I was younger was always lime green. So when I saw those jerseys, I was like, yeah, this is excellent.”

Outfielder Jose Siri, a flashy dresser who also likes bright colors, already has ordered cleats to match the uniforms he expects to be quite popular with younger fans.

“As soon as I saw it, I thought it was really, really beautiful,” he said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Ben Rortvedt also was making plans to accessorize, ordering some neon-accented black catching gear shipped to Tropicana Field.

“These are great,” he said. “Everybody loves them. I know the fans like them, too. I think it’s pretty special. A lot of our guys end up wearing a lot of neon to begin with, so I know they’re pretty happy with that. … We’re all excited to wear them. It’s awesome.”

The SkyRay — a combination of a ray and the Sunshine Skyway bridge — featured on the cap looks to be among the most popular items of the full ensemble designed by Nike and a Rays team led by Warren Hypes, vice president for creative and brand.

“This is a hat I could just wear around because it’s pretty cool-looking,’’ said pitcher Tyler Alexander.

Cash said Hypes deserves “a huge thank you” for leading the way on what was a four-year project, starting with the initial brainstorming sessions in 2020.

“Warren kind of poured himself into it,” Cash said, “and I’m glad that it’s been well-received.”

The Rays will wear the uniforms for all three weekend games against the Mets, then on all home Saturdays, plus June 15 at Atlanta and Aug. 7 at St. Louis. There will be three City Connect-related giveaways: a skateboard deck art piece May 24, a sneaker keychain for kids July 14 and a Pete Fairbanks bobblehead July 28.

The team is hosting a launch celebration event Thursday at the St. Pete Pier from 5-10 p.m. that includes player appearances, food trucks, music and games, and a drone show that features the new uniform logos.

By any other name

The Brewers’ retractable roof stadium was known as Miller Park from its 2001 opening until a Jan. 1, 2021 change in sponsorship made it American Family Field. To Rortvedt, who lived about an hour away and attended many Brewers games as a kid (but never played there until Monday), old habits die hard. “Growing up, this was my home ballpark,” he said “Most of us Wisconsin guys still call it Miller Park. I don’t think we’ll ever call it American Family Field. So, it’s pretty cool to step on the field again.”


Cash went into Tuesday’s game one win shy of tying Joe Maddon’s team record total of 754 wins. ... Monday’s victory was the Rays’ first in Milwaukee since June 22, 2011. The span of 4,695 days between was their third-most against a team on the road; they went 6,135 days between wins in San Francisco (June 18, 2002, to April 5, 2019) and 5,534 in San Diego (June 17, 2004-Aug. 12, 2019).

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