Jonny Gomes has a ready-made insult for anyone lacking in a baseball sense — “He’s a Devil Ray.”

The opposite of a Devil Ray, however, is a Ray, and Gomes would know, because he’s been both. As the Red Sox prepare to visit Tropicana Field tonight for the first time this season, Gomes reflected on the metaphysical implications of life as a Devil Ray vs. that of a Ray.

“Winning and losing,” Gomes said. “That’s the end result.”

It’s hard to even remember now, given Tampa Bay’s run of excellence that began in 2008. But the Devil Rays aren’t that far removed from being viewed like today’s hapless Astros. They were laughingstocks to be crushed, as the Red Sox proved while going 16-3 against them in 2002.

“The Devil Rays were a losing mentality,” Gomes said, later adding, “There’s not many of us left that wore the green unis.”

The Rays, obviously, have become something entirely different under the leadership of executive Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon. Gomes was there on the ground floor, and he’s not lying when he says he saw it coming — during spring training in 2008, he told anyone who’d listen that the Rays were for real.

“We were hanging banners all the way through the minor leagues,” Gomes said. “We’d go to spring training and it would be like an hour-long celebration of championships and awards. Our A-ball team won. Our Double-A team won. This guy’s on the Futures Team, that guy’s the minor league player of the year, this guy’s pitcher of the year, Southern League this, Cal League that.