History of the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day

In celebration of the Tampa Bay Rays' 2024 season commencing, here is a look at the team's history of Opening Day games.


The Tampa Bay Rays kick off the 2024 major league baseball season on March 28th in Tropicana Field against the Toronto Blue Jays. It will begin the 27th season for the Tampa Bay Rays in their history.

The Rays' first Opening Day came in 1998 with a matchup with the Detroit Tigers for the first game in Tampa Bay baseball history. Detroit would go on to win 11-6, commencing the first season ever for the Rays; they would finish the 1998 season 63-99.

The Rays would also go on to lose their next two Opening Day games in 1999 and 2000 to the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, getting outscored in those combined matchups 18-6. However, the team finally broke through for their first win on Opening Day in 2001against the Toronto Blue Jays in a dominating 8-1 win, with Albie Lopez earning the victory in 8.0 innings of work.

Albie Lopez...
Albie Lopez... / Jonathan Kirn/GettyImages

Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day History: First Win Came in 2001

The Blue Jays and Rays have six Opening Day meetups, with this upcoming one being the seventh. They are the team Tampa Bay has played the most to start the season, sporting a 3-3 record against Toronto in those six games.

That particular 2001 win over Toronto would start an Opening Day win streak for the Rays that would last through the 2004 season. This included revenge Opening Day wins against the Tigers and Red Sox, who had beaten them on the big day previously.

Tampa Bay has a chance to tie that Opening Day win streak with a win over Toronto on March 28th, as they have won three Opening Day games in a row starting back in 2021 against the New York Yankees. As it currently stands, the Tampa Bay Rays are 14-12 on Opening Days, putting them in the top ten for MLB winning percentages on opening day (9th place overall).

First pitch between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays inside of Tropicana Field will be at 4:10 p.m. E.T.