RAYS FAN FEST THIS SATURDAY – Includes New Activities and Increased Player Interaction

By on February 15, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The 2010 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by MetroPCS is slated for this Saturday, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tropicana Field.  The event is also sponsored by Sweetbay Supermarket, TradeWinds Island Resorts, Chevrolet and TV32.
Admission and parking are free for the event, and a $40 charitable donation will allow fans the opportunity to get autographs from Rays players and coaches.  Autographs for season ticket holders and kids 14 and under are free. 
Proceeds from Fan Fest will go to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the families of slain St. Petersburg policemen Sergeant Thomas Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, the ALS Association and the Salvation Army Centers in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton. 
Among the new features at Fan Fest this year:
RAYS CHARITY YARD SALE—Fans will have the opportunity to purchase unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season.  Among the items for sale are game-used and autographed bats, baseballs, jerseys, batting helmets and lineup cards.  Included are a 2010 team-signed Rays jersey, authenticated game-used baseballs from 2008 playoffs, authenticated champagne bottles from 2008 playoff celebrations, authenticated game tickets from Rays first-ever no-hitter and autographed clubhouse player nameplates.
MADDON’S FEAST—Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon will serve up his traditional “Thanksmas” meal.  A limited number of fans will have the opportunity to chat with Maddon over a plate of his homemade spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogies—a meal he has served at area homeless shelters over the last five winters as part of his Thanksmas initiative.  Meals also include salad, mixed desserts, water and soda.  Maddon’s hearty feast will be served at Tropicana Field’s Batter’s Eye Restaurant from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Adult tickets are $30 when purchased in advance through raysbaseball.com, or $40 at the door.  Tickets for children 14 and under are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door.  Tickets are limited and subject to availability.
FIELD TURF FOR SALE—For $25 fans can purchase one-by-one foot squares of Tropicana Field’s playing surface that was removed earlier this month.  It is the turf on which the Rays won two American League East Championships and an American League pennant.  Also on sale at the same price are one-by-one foot squares of the carpet from the Rays clubhouse still soaked with champagne from the Rays 2010 postseason clinching celebration.
CHAT WITH KEN ROSENTHAL FROM FOX SPORTS—FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal will take any and all baseball questions from fans from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Ken is the senior baseball writer from FOXSports.com. ; He appears weekly on MLB on FOX.
A RECORD NUMBER OF MLB ALUMNI—Forty former major league players will be signing autographs for free throughout the day.
READING WITH THE RAYS—The event will also include a designated area for “Reading with the Rays,” the club’s summer reading program that will feature Rays players reading selected stories to children throughout the day.
Fan Fest will again feature numerous interactive activities for children and families.  At the TV32 Kids Interactive Zone, fans can swing away in a big league batting cage, try out their fastball in the speed pitch booth, hit a home run in the Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby and show off their speed at the Steal Home Challenge.
Kids will be able to run the bases and get high fives from players as they cross home plate at the new Sweetbay High Five Station.  Kids can tour the clubhouse and ask questions to players at a kids-only press conference.
There will be panel discussions led by Rays broadcasters and special guests throughout the day.  The team will also hold national anthem auditions where fans can try out to sing before a game at Tropicana Field this season.
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.
Fans can call 888-FAN-RAYS or log on to raysbaseball.com for more information about the 2011 Rays Fan Fest.

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