Clashing Coasts: the Evolving Rivalry Between Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays

Kevin Smith

arizona vs rays

While not historically a longstanding feud, these two Major League Baseball teams have crossed paths several times during interleague play.

Each encounter brings its unique excitement and anticipation, showcasing the talents and strengths of both franchises.

From iconic moments such as the Diamondbacks’ 2001 World Series victory to the Rays’ dramatic 2008 AL pennant win, there’s no shortage of thrilling baseball memories.

Join us as we explore the limited but impactful history between these teams and celebrate the moments that have shaped their dynamic on the diamond.

History: Arizona Diamondbacks Vs Tampa Bay Rays

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays have had distinct histories due to their different expansion years, league affiliations, and geographical locations.

Let’s compare some key aspects of their histories

Establishment and Expansion

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks were established in 1998 as an expansion team, becoming the 30th franchise in Major League Baseball (MLB). They were placed in the National League (NL) West Division.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays, initially known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, were also established in 1998 as an expansion team alongside the Diamondbacks. Like the Diamondbacks, they became the 30th MLB franchise, but they were placed in the American League (AL) East Division.

Early Struggles

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks quickly found success, reaching the playoffs in their second season (1999) and winning the World Series just two years after their establishment, in 2001.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays struggled in their early years, finishing last in their division for several seasons. They faced challenges in building a competitive team but gradually improved their performance in the 2000s.

Postseason Appearances and Achievements:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks’ most significant achievement came in 2001 when they defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series, becoming one of the fastest expansion teams to win a championship.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays had a breakthrough season in 2008, winning the AL East and reaching their first World Series. Although they didn’t win the championship, they showcased their potential on a national stage. In 2020, the Rays returned to the World Series but were unable to secure a title, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers.


  • Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks play their home games at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The stadium has a retractable roof, allowing for comfortable playing conditions in the hot desert climate.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays play their home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tropicana Field is known for its unique domed roof and artificial turf playing surface.

Notable Players and Legends

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks have had several iconic players, including Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez, and Paul Goldschmidt. Randy Johnson, in particular, is often associated with the franchise’s early success and is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have developed notable players like Evan Longoria, David Price, Carl Crawford, and James Shields. Evan Longoria, in particular, is considered one of the greatest players in Rays history, earning multiple All-Star selections and becoming the face of the franchise for many years.

Fanbase: Arizona Diamondbacks Vs Tampa Bay Rays

Arizona Diamondbacks Fanbase

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a dedicated and passionate fanbase, particularly in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Since their establishment in 1998, the D-backs have built a strong following, with fans coming from Arizona and neighboring states.

They have developed a loyal fanbase through their on-field successes, including winning the World Series in 2001.

Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ home stadium, has been known to have a vibrant atmosphere during games, especially during playoff runs and marquee matchups.

The team’s colors, Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and black, have become iconic among their fans, and the franchise has cultivated a sense of community with various fan engagement initiatives.

Tampa Bay Rays Fanbase

The Tampa Bay Rays, located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, have faced some challenges in building a large and consistently passionate fanbase.

Despite their successes on the field, including playoff appearances and two World Series appearances, the Rays have struggled with attendance figures over the years.

Several factors have contributed to this, including the team’s relatively short history, competition from other sports teams in the region (such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL), and the team’s stadium, Tropicana Field, which has received mixed reviews from fans.

Iconic Moments: Arizona Diamondbacks Vs Tampa Bay Rays Rivalry

Arizona Diamondbacks Iconic Moments

  • 2001 World Series Victory: The Diamondbacks won their first and only World Series title in the 2001 season. They faced the New York Yankees in a thrilling seven-game series, and in Game 7, with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Luis Gonzalez delivered a walk-off bloop single against the Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera to clinch the championship. This remains one of the most iconic moments in Diamondbacks history.

  • Randy Johnson’s Perfect Game: On May 18, 2004, pitcher Randy Johnson threw a perfect game for the Diamondbacks against the Atlanta Braves. He retired all 27 batters he faced, striking out 13 in the process. Johnson’s perfect game was a historic achievement for the franchise.

Tampa Bay Rays Iconic Moments

  • 2008 American League Pennant: In the 2008 season, the Rays had a remarkable turnaround, going from perennial strugglers to AL East champions. They reached the World Series for the first time in franchise history, defeating the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. The Rays’ journey to the World Series that year was a memorable and iconic moment for the team and its fans.

  • Longoria’s Walk-Off Home Run: On September 28, 2011, in the final game of the regular season, the Rays were tied with the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race. In the bottom of the 12th inning, with the Rays down by one run, Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to clinch a playoff spot for the team. This dramatic moment is often referred to as “The Game 162” and is one of the most iconic moments in Rays history.

Recent Performance: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays have faced each other three times in the current regular season. The Rays currently hold a 2-1 advantage over the Diamondbacks in their recent matchups.

June 27, 2023: Diamondbacks 8, Rays 4

The Diamondbacks secured an 8-4 victory at Chase Field, snapping a two-game losing streak against the Rays.

Key players like Ketel Marte and Carson Kelly contributed with home runs and RBIs, while the Rays’ offense put up a fight with homers from Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe.

June 28, 2023: Rays 3, Diamondbacks 2

The Rays bounced back with a narrow 3-2 win at Chase Field. Strong performances by Austin Meadows and Mike Zunino, who hit home runs in the third inning, propelled the Rays to victory.

The Diamondbacks fought back, but the Rays’ closer, Diego Castillo, shut the door in the ninth inning.

June 29, 2023: Rays 6, Diamondbacks 1

The Rays secured the series win with a convincing 6-1 victory. Tyler Glasnow’s impressive pitching performance, along with contributions from Meadows and Ji-Man Choi, led the Rays to another triumph.

The Diamondbacks managed to score a lone run via Eduardo Escobar’s home run.

Table for Arizona Diamondbacks Vs Tampa Bay Rays Rivalry

2004June 11-13Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays6-3
2004June 15-17Chase FieldTampa Bay Rays5-4
2008June 27-29Tropicana FieldArizona D-backs3-2
2008June 30Tropicana FieldArizona D-backs5-4 (10)
2010June 8-9Chase FieldTampa Bay Rays5-3
2016May 6-8Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays6-3
2019July 22-24Chase FieldTampa Bay Rays3-2
2019July 25Chase FieldArizona D-backs6-4


How many times have the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays faced each other in MLB history?

As of my last update in September 2021, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays have faced each other in interleague play on eight occasions.

Do the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays have a long-standing rivalry?

No, as of my last update, the two teams did not have a well-established rivalry with a long history of intense matchups.

When was the last time the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays played against each other?

The most recent meeting between the Diamondbacks and the Rays was on July 25, 2019, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, where the Diamondbacks won 6-4.

Have the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays ever met in the World Series?

No, the Diamondbacks and the Rays have not faced each other in a World Series matchup as of my last update.

Which team has historically had the upper hand in head-to-head matchups?

The Tampa Bay Rays held a slight advantage in head-to-head matchups against the Arizona Diamondbacks, winning four out of the eight games played, as of my last update in September 2021.

To Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays did not have a well-established rivalry with a long history of intense matchups.

They have faced each other only eight times during interleague play, with the Rays holding a slight advantage in head-to-head meetings.

Despite not having a storied rivalry, both teams have experienced iconic moments and successes in their respective histories.

The Diamondbacks’ 2001 World Series victory and Randy Johnson’s perfect game, along with the Rays’ remarkable 2008 AL pennant and Longoria’s memorable walk-off home run, remain significant highlights.

Fans eagerly await future matchups and potential developments in this evolving dynamic between the two franchises.

Photo of author

Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn