On Friday, March 6 prior to the Rays vs. Minnesota Twins game at Charlotte Sports Park, the Rays continued their annual tradition of shaving their heads as part of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure". For the fourth consecutive year, Rays coaches, players and front office staff shaved their heads to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. To make a donation visit pcfcutforacure.org. Fans were also able to shave their heads with the Rays and receive a "Rays Cut for a Cure" T-shirt for a $100 donation.
"Cut for a Cure" T-shirts are available at the following locations:
During the month of January, 25 players from the Rays Minor League system train at Tropicana Field for a week. During this week, the players are brought to the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park where the players play games, do homework, and prepare an after school snack with the kids attending the local Boys and Girls Club. In the month of September, 50 Rays Minor Leaguers train at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte and these 50 players are brought to the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County to interact with the kids there. This teaches the players that community involvement is an important part of their baseball career and molds them to be role models for the youth in the communities in which they will play.
Good Sports helps lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. By partnering with sporting goods manufacturers, Good Sports gets crucial equipment to kids who need it most, getting them in the game.
Now in the second year of partnership, Good Sports and the Rays have been able to provide more than $25,000 in new sports equipment each year to youth organizations in Tampa Bay. In that time they have provided 3,000 children with the resources to lead healthier, more active lifestyles.
The Rays proudly partnered with All Children's Hospital and Tampa General Hospital in 2015 to bring players and mascot Raymond several times throughout the season to raise the spirits of patients and their families.
MacDill Air Force Base
MacDill Air Force Base is located just twenty minutes from Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. MacDill houses the 16th Air Mobility Wing, United States Central Command and Special Operations Command among many other operations vital to the security of the United States. Rays players and coaches visited the base often to provide encouragement and give thanks to those serving in our nation's military.
The Rays provided 24 tickets to each home game behind the Rays bullpen to personnel returning from deployment, families of deployed personnel and staff assigned to MacDill Air Force Base.
On Sunday home games, the Rays took time to recognize military families with relatives serving overseas. Unbeknownst to these individuals attending the game, the Rays coordinated a video message featuring their relative in the military, and showed the message on RaysVision. The families watched the messages accompanied by a standing ovation from the Tropicana Field crowd.
The Tampa Bay region is home to thousands of military veterans of all ages. The Rays honor our nations' veterans and thank them for their service by inviting them to enjoy America's Pastime at Tropicana Field. Several times throughout the season the Rays, in partnership with Operation Helping Hand, hosted wounded veterans in our exclusive Left Field Terrace from James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. The VA hospital is unique to Tampa Bay as it is the busiest of four polytrauma facilities in the nation. James A. Haley serves over 116,000 veterans living in the four-county area as well as those who have recently returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with life-threatening/altering injuries. Therapists, doctors, nurses, patients and patients' families who are need of an uplifting experience all attend games in this exclusive area well suited to accommodate the veteran's unique medical needs.
The Rays also play host to veterans on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Foundation several times throughout the season. Inviting veterans to observe and sometimes participate in batting practice with the team.
For the third consecutive season, every home run hit by Rays third baseman Evan Longoria benefitted the Pet Pal Animal Shelter. Longoria joined Bright House Networks, the Rays and Ducky's Sports Lounge to each donate $100 to the shelter for every home run he hit during the 2014 season.
Longoria and his fiancée, Jaime Edmondson, have a rescue dog, Tatum, a four-year-old Boerboel Mastiff."We were so thrilled to have been chosen by Evan and Jaime," said Scott Daly, Executive Director of Pet Pal Animal Shelter. "We have been able to save even more lives this year with the help of this magnificent fundraiser."
"Jaime and I are thankful to be a in a position that allows us to continue to support the great work being done by Pet Pal." Longoria said. "We're also grateful to Bright House Networks and the Rays for their continued support."
Longoria has raised over $30,000 for Pet Pal Animal Shelter since the program's inception in 2012.
Pet Pal Animal Shelter is a no-kill nonprofit organization committed to rescuing dogs and cats from animal shelters that may otherwise be euthanized due to time limitations, illness, injuries or lack of socialization and training. Pet Pal is also dedicated to educating the public about the pet overpopulation crisis, the importance of spaying/neutering and responsible pet ownership.
Before every Tuesday home game at Tropicana Field, the Rays host a child from the Make-A-Wish Foundation or Children's Dream Fund at the ballpark as a part of a special program called "Tuesday's Champion". The kids, accompanied by their families, are invited to be on the field during batting practice where they can meet and interact with Rays players and coaches. They are then treated to dinner in the Rays Club before taking the field and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Along with these experiences, they are also given a personalized jersey and bat. The children selected for the program are battling life-threatening illnesses and many come straight from the hospital.