Take Zorilla to School: Clearwater 4th grader meets Ben Zobrist

5:01 PM, May 27, 2010   |    comments
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Braeden Johnson meets Rays All-Star Ben Zobrist

Clearwater, Florida - Nine-year-old Braeden Johnson could hardly contain his excitement.

"I'm about to explode," he smiles.

Moments later, his special guest arrives as Tampa Bay Rays All-Star Ben Zobrist climbs out of a car in front of Braeden's school.

"How're ya doing, man? Nice to meet you!" says the Rays' star as he hands Braeden a personalized jersey. "This is for you. Got your own name on it and everything."

Photo Gallery: Clearwater 4th grader takes Zorilla to school

The Rays' super utilityman, known to fans as "Zorilla," was about to become one heck of a "Show and Tell" as he walked through a rock-star reception, lined with screaming Frontier Elementary students. Then Ben and Braeden went to class, part of Braeden's treat as winner of the"Take Zobrist to School" Promotion by MetroPCS.

"You feel like a celebrity right now, don't ya?" Zobrist joked with Braeden. 

One by one, his classmates asked questions while Braeden beamed. Zobrist was just as he thought he would be.

"Nice and thoughtful," says Braeden.

And bearing gifts for all. One of the prizes for Braeden: a Tampa Bay Rays fightin' necklace.

"A lot of the players wear these on the field," says Zobrist.
"I thank him for the gifts he gave me," says Braeden. "Especially the Johnson jersey."

"You know, they're at their school and in their element," says Zobrist who added how he appreciated the chance to connect with kids in the community. "For me to see that and just kind of remember when I see kids at the Trop, that's where they're coming from, usually coming from school. It's fun to come out here and feel their energy and see that they love the Rays too."

And how's Braeden feel to be the coolest kid in school?

"Really good!"

Braeden is a straight-A student and has made the principal's list the past three grading periods. He actively participates in his school as a member of Student Council, the Multicultural club, 4th and 5th Grade Chorus, the Mighty Mu Club and the Battle of the Books team. He also served as news anchor on Frontier television (FTV) last fall.

Angela Jacobs, 10 Connects

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