Tomorrow afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays come to Fenway for the first time this season.
But do you remember when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays came to Fenway for the first time ever?
I didn't. So I looked it up. And present it to you as today's Box Score Bank.
June 12, 1998 . . .
Bill Clinton was in his fifth year as president of the United States. The Boy is Mine by Brandy and Monica was No. 1 on the charts. Deep Impact was No. 1 at the Box Office. Bobby Valetine was in his third season as manager of the Mets. Rays starter Matt Moore was in his eighth year of life.
And over at Fenway, the Red Sox were hosting Tampa for the first time, all-time.
Final Score: Red Sox 5, Devil Rays 1
Tim Wakefield got the start for Boston, and the knuckle ball was working. Wake gave up one run over 6.2 innings, and even though he only had three strike outs, one of them did come against Fred McGriff. (Although, I should mention that McGriff was 65 years old at the time.)
But the highlight of the Tampa roster was non other than Wade Boggs, who was in his first of two seasons down south. The 40-year-old Boggs finished the day 2-4 and knocked in the Devil Ray's lone RBI. He followed it up with two buckets of chicken and five cases of beer.
Future Red Sox great Rolando Arrojo was on the mound for Tampa, and was pretty impressive. He struck out nine and gave up only two runs over seven innings, but his replacement Jim Mecir wasn't nearly effective in the eighth. He gave up three runs in one-third of an inning including RBI doubles from Nomar and Troy O'Leary to ensure the Tampa loss.
Wouldn't mind a little deja vu tomorrow.
And now that I mention it, Wake might actually be an upgrade on Beckett.