This year’s Fan Fest will feature a number of activities for kids. Youth stations include “Reading with the Rays,” Coaches Clinic with Rays coaches, Kids Run the Bases and 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 Florida Chapter will again allow fans to receive a wristband allowing fans to get autographs from Rays players and coaches. Rays TV and radio broadcasters (DeWayne Staats, Brian Anderson, Todd Kalas, Dave Wills and Andy Freed) 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 seven winters as part of his Thanksmas initiative. Those attending this year’s Thanksmas meal will also have a chance to participate in an exclusive question and answer session with Hall of Fame baseball writer and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons. In addition, Gammons will join fellow MLB Network personality Sam Ryan on the Pepsi Stage for a panel discussion.
All proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation and local Salvation Army centers.
The Rays Charity Yard Sale returns for a third 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.
Between the Rays Charity Yard Sale, Thanksmas, and autograph sales at the 2012 Rays Fan Fest, over $100,000 was raised to benefit the Salvation Army, the ALS Association 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, 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.
The Rays will also use their social media accounts to give fans 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.
Rays ticket sales personnel will be available to assist fans throughout the day in the purchase of season tickets, group tickets, and a special Fan Fest pack offer.