Rays Fan Fest, Maddon's Thankmas to be held Saturday

1:06 PM, Feb 21, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Rays fans will have the chance to meet some of their favorite players and participate in a number of family-friendly activities this Saturday, Feb. 22 at the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field.

Fan Fest will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

The event will feature a number of exciting activities for kids including "Reading with the Rays," the Sagicor Coaches Clinic with Rays coaches, the All Children's Hospital Kids Interactive Zone, Bayfront Health Kids Run the Bases, photos with Rays mascot Raymond and DJ Kitty, baseball activities for all ages and appearances by Rays players and coaches at various stations throughout the day.

Fans are encouraged to stop by the Phone-A-Friend stage to have a Rays player call a friend or family member and receive the most up-to-date information on T-Mobile products. This year, Chris Archer, Grant Balfour, Alex Cobb and Ben Zobrist are scheduled to participate in T-Mobile Phone-A-Friend. 

The Rays will use their social media accounts to give fans even more opportunities for team and player interaction and exclusive prizes throughout Fan Fest.

The team's main Twitter account @RaysBaseball will serve as a communication hub where fans can get up-to-date information on events happening throughout the day and answers to questions about Fan Fest. Twitter users can also have their messages posted on the RaysVision video board at Tropicana Field by using the #RaysFanFest hashtag for all messages related to the event.

New at this year's Fan Fest is Club Social, a social media hub for fans, presented by T-Mobile. Prior to the event, fans should look out for a special #Tweet2MeetMoore contest this week with Rays lefthander Matt Moore (@MattyMoe55).

Rays Manager Joe Maddon will again hold a Thanksmas event at the 2014 Rays Fan Fest, though this year's event offers a unique atmosphere.

A very limited number of fans will have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines, enjoy hors d'oeuvres based on Maddon's Thanksmas meal, and talk with Rays coaches, broadcasters and MLB Alumni inside the Ted Williams Museum.

All proceeds from this event benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation and Joe's Thankmas efforts throughout Tampa Bay. Tickets are $125 each for the event. To purchase tickets or for more information on this intimate wine tasting, visit raysbaseball.com/fanfest.

Additionally, this year's autograph process will allow fans the opportunity to receive an autograph from the specific player(s) they want, which will allow fans to enjoy more of the sights and sounds of Fan Fest. Fans must go online to purchase a pass that will provide access to that player at a specific time frame during Fan Fest.  A limited number of passes will be sold for each signing player and all sales must be completed online. The passes for a number of Rays players have already sold out and there will be no passes for sale on the day of Fan Fest.

Related: Rays Fan Fest autograph prices go up

Proceeds from autograph sales will benefit the ALS Association Florida Chapter and the Rays Baseball Foundation. Additionally, one autograph table will be free for kids 14 and under and those who have purchased any autograph pass. More than 25 former major league players will also sign autographs for free throughout the day.

The Rays Charity Yard Sale also returns for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to purchase unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season. All proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation. 

Between the Rays Charity Yard Sale, Thanksmas and autograph sales at the 2013 Rays Fan Fest, $100,000 was raised to benefit local Salvation Army chapters, the ALS Association Florida Chapter and the Rays Baseball Foundation.

To promote "Reading with the Rays," the club's summer reading program supported by the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education program, Rays players will read select stories to kids throughout the day.

In the All Children's Hospital Kids' Interactive Zone, kids can take cuts in a big league batting cage, try out their fastball in the speed pitch booth and swing for the fences in the Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby.  In addition, at the Sagicor Coaches Clinic station, Rays coaches and staff will conduct free clinics for kids of all ages and clubhouse tours will be offered throughout the day.

The 2014 Players & Pooches calendar will also be available for purchase at Fan Fest. All proceeds from the sales will go to Pet Pal Animal Shelter.

Fans can call 888-FAN-RAYS or log on to raysbaseball.com/fanfest for more information about 2014 Rays Fan Fest.

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