The 2012 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by MetroPCS is scheduled for Saturday, February 18 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Tropicana Field. The event is also sponsored by Chevrolet, Sweetbay Supermarket and Tradewinds Island Resorts. Admission and parking are free.
This year's Fan Fest will feature an unprecedented number of activities for kids. Youth stations include clinics by Rays coaches, "Reading with the Rays," kids running the bases, high five stations with Rays players, photos with Rays mascot Raymond and DJ Kitty, baseball interactive activities for all ages and appearances by Rays players and coaches at various stations throughout the day.
A donation to the ALS Association will allow fans to receive a wristband which grants the opportunity to get autographs from Rays players and coaches. Rays TV and radio broadcasters and more than 25 former major league players will also sign autographs for free throughout the day.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon will again serve up his traditional Thanksmas meal. A limited number of fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a plate of Maddon's homemade spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogies, a meal he has served at area homeless shelters over the last six winters as part of his Thanksmas initiative. Meals also include salad, mixed desserts, water and soda. Those fans purchasing tickets will also be eligible to win raffle prizes including autographed memorabilia and more. All proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation and local Salvation Army centers. Presale tickets to the lunch can be purchased on raysbaseball.com.
The Rays Yard Sale returns for a second year giving fans the opportunity to purchase unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season. All proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation. In 2011, the Rays Yard Sale raised $80,000. Proceeds were split among Rays community partners, the ALS Association, Suncoast Law Enforcement Charities and the Rays Baseball Foundation.
To promote "Reading with the Rays," the club's summer reading program, Rays players will read select stories to kids throughout the day.
In the kids' interactive zone, fans can swing away in a big league batting cage, try out their fastball in the speed pitch booth and hit a home run in the Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby.
Sweetbay Supermarket High Five Station will once again allow kids to run the bases and get high fives from players as they cross home plate.
In addition, Rays broadcasters and special guests will hold panel discussions, Rays coaches and staff will conduct free clinics for kids of all ages and clubhouse tours will be offered throughout the day.
Fans are encouraged to stop by the MetroPCS Call-A-Friend Stage to have the opportunity for a Rays player to call a friend or family member and receive the most up-to-date information on MetroPCS products.
Rays ticket sales personnel will be available to assist fans throughout the day in the purchase of season tickets, Opening Day tickets, single game tickets and a special Fan Fest pack offer.Fans can call 888-FAN-RAYS or log on to raysbaseball.com for more information about 2012 Rays Fan Fest. More event details will be released next month.