Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Feel the love at Fan Fest
Posted Feb 3, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Feb 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM
The Rays announced details of their annual Fan Fest, which this year is set for Valentine’s Day. The festivities will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14 at Tropicana Field, and admission and parking are free.
Here’s the press release with the rest of the details:
A $10 donation to the Rays Baseball Foundation will allow fans the opportunity to get autographs from Rays players and coaches throughout the day. Autographs for kids 14 and under and season ticket holders are free with a wristband. Season ticket holders will also have the opportunity to have their photograph taken with a Rays player.
More than 20 former major leaguers will be signing autographs during the event as well.
While individual tickets will go on sale the week of February 23, fans can purchase season ticket plans and select their seats at Fan Fest. The Rays will also introduce a special 9=8 Ticket Package, which includes tickets to 9 games for the price of 8. Prices for the 9=8 package start as low as $95 and are available in the Baseline Box and Upper Deck. The package also includes a wristband for access to the autograph areas.
All fans will have an opportunity to have their photo taken with the American League Championship Trophy, courtesy of Visual Touch Photography. In addition, fans can visit the Bright House Sports Network Kids Interactive Zone and take a swing in a big league batting cage, test their fastball in the speed pitch booth and hit a home run in the Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby. Kids will also have the chance to run the bases and all fans can tour the Rays clubhouse.
Select Rays postseason merchandise will be available at 50% off.
Rays broadcasters Andy Freed, Dave Wills, Dewayne Staats and Todd Kalas will be on hand as will former major league catcher and manager and current broadcaster Buck Martinez, who will conduct a special question-and-answer session for all fans in the Centerfield Street Brew House at 1 p.m. Martinez is currently host of Baseball This Morning on XM Radio and is a broadcaster for TBS and the Baltimore Orioles TV network.
The Rays will also welcome a special guest. Joey Chestnut, the winner of the 2007 and 2008 Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, will greet fans and sign autographs. Chestnut, who unseated Kobayashi as the world champion, is ranked as the number one professional eater in the world.
Fans are encouraged to stop by the MetroPCS Call-A-Friend Stage from 1:00-3:00 p.m. to have the opportunity for a Rays player to call a friend or family member and receive the most up-to-date information on MetroPCS products.
Artifacts from the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame will be showcased as well as artifacts from the world’s largest autographed baseball collection, including balls signed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb and many others. There will also be a baseball card show.
The team will honor their most loyal and diehard fans by inducting six new members into the Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame during a ceremony at noon on the field. Those being honored are Corinne Bulla, St. Petersburg; Annie Miller, St. Petersburg; Pieter Wiemkin, St. Petersburg; Father Tom Anastasia, Plant City; David Brougham, New Port Richey; and Charlie Troeger, Auburndale.
The Rays Touch Tank presented by Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater will be open for fans to pet and feed live cownose rays. A silent auction will take place with proceeds benefiting the Rays Baseball Foundation.
The team will also be holding National Anthem auditions at Fan Fest. The first 50 fans to register will audition live for a chance to sing the anthem before a game at Tropicana Field this season. Audition sign-ups will be from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at Gate 1. Auditions will begin at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Groups and musical instruments (acoustic only) are welcome. For more information on Rays National Anthem auditions please call (727) 825-3151.