01/22/13 3:55 PM ET
Rays schedule 2013 Fan Fest for Feb. 16
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The annual baseball celebration at Tropicana Field will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. ET.
Other sponsors for the event include Chevrolet, Sweetbay Supermarket and TradeWinds Island Resorts. Admission and parking are free.
This year's Fan Fest will feature a number of activities for kids. Youth stations include "Reading with the Rays," Sagicor Coaches Clinic with Rays coaches, Sweetbay 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 players and coaches at various stations throughout the day.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR--Rays Fan Fest is scheduled for 2/16 from 10am-4pm. Admission & parking are free. More info soon on raysbaseball.com!— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 22, 2013
Fans are encouraged to stop by the MetroPCS Call-A-Friend Stage to have the opportunity for a Tampa Bay player to call a friend or family member and receive the most up-to-date information on MetroPCS products.
A donation to the ALS Association Florida Chapter will again allow fans to receive a wristband which grants the opportunity to get autographs from 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.
Joe Maddon will 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 the Tampa Bay manager has served at area homeless shelters over the last seven 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. Season-ticket holders can purchase tickets to the event as part of a presale on Thursday, with tickets going on sale to the public on Friday on raysbaseball.com, subject to availability.
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, Tampa Bay 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.
Sweetbay Supermarket High Five Station will once again allow kids to run the bases and receive high fives from players as they cross home plate.
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 Rays will also 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.
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.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.