Deep under the ocean rests a great treasure, one that's available for only the most daring of Jacques Cousteau-inspired adventurers. But there are no Spanish galleons or pirate-haunted dubloons here — just a chest filled with baseballs, a bat and a glove.
At least, that's my understanding after watching the intro sequence that the Tampa Bay Rays (then the Devil Rays) used at the opening of their television broadcasts for the team's inaugural 1998 season.
This thing is a glorious 1990s time capsule. From the space-age-at-the-time computer graphics to the trippy devil ray that soars out of the ocean and across St. Petersburg's skyline, there's no way you could watch this and not be ready for some expansion-team baseball. (Just how our flying sea creature was able to simply melt its way through Tropicana Field's domed roof is a question scientists are still pondering.)
While the team didn't have a great year in '98 — hey, how many expansion franchises do? — there were still plenty of exciting moments. Like when the be-mustached Wade Boggs hit the first dinger in franchise history:
Or when Bobby Smith — having his best big league season — gave Tampa its first walk-off win:
Our cosmic devil ray was surely pleased.
And, if you're curious, MLB's other expansion team — the D-backs — had their own wonderfully CGI'd intro video for 1998, too. This time a rattlesnake finds a baseball in the desert and uses its tail to smash a dinger into what was then known as Bank One Ballpark:
Ah, the '90s. What a time to be alive.