Tampa Bay Rays announced promotions and community events taking place during the team's 2016 spring training in Charlotte County, including a special presentation by the USSOCOM Parachute Team before the Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals at Charlotte Sports Park on Wednesday, March 2. All home game are scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m.
The first 500 kids 14 and under will receive a Rays Camo Tank Top (Sunday, March 6 vs. the Twins); a Rays Retro Lunchbox (Tuesday, March 15 vs. the Phillies) presented by Bright House Networks; a Rays Etch A Sketch (Friday, March 18 vs. the Red Sox) presented by Sagicor Life Insurance; and a DJ Kitty Drawstring Bag (Sunday, March 27 vs. the Blue Jays) presented by All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Jake Odorizzi Bobblehead (Saturday, March 19 vs. the Orioles) presented by Suncoast Credit Union.
The Rays will celebrate St. Patrick's Day during on Friday, March 18 vs. the Red Sox with themed music, green beer specials and more. Kids 14 and under are welcome to participate in an Easter egg hunt and meet the Easter Bunny following the game on Sunday, March 27 vs. the Blue Jays.
Spring Training Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day
Rays spring training season ticket holders are invited to Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday, February 28 at 9:30 a.m. to watch the team's workout, which is open to the public. Rays Radio broadcasters Dave Wills and Andy Freed will host a Q&A session with players following the workout, when spring training season ticket holders will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken with players. Attendees will also be able to pick up their season ticket holder T-shirt and hat, and will receive a special gift certificate to use that day only at the Charlotte Sports Park Team Store. Information about becoming a Rays spring training season ticket holder is available by calling 888-FAN-RAYS or by visiting raysbaseball.com/spring.
Opening Day and Military Appreciation Day
The Rays will recognize military at their Grapefruit League opener vs. the Nationals on Wednesday, March 2 with a special tribute to the men and women of Charlotte County who have served their country. The USSOCOM Parachute Team will deliver an American flag and first pitch ball as part of a pregame presentation. The Rays have donated 300 tickets through Charlotte County Veterans Services for local veterans and their families to attend the game, many of whom will receive special recognition. The Rays will also be assisting veterans in their efforts to construct the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Charlotte County, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Little League Day
The Rays will host Little League Day on Sunday, March 6 vs. the Twins. Little Leaguers from Charlotte County area little leagues will receive a free general admission ticket at the box office on the day of the game by wearing their Little League jersey.
The Rays will honor first responders of the Charlotte County area by hosting Heroes Day on Wednesday, March 9 vs. the Blue Jays. Employees of the Charlotte County area's police departments, fire departments, EMTs and other first responder organizations will have the opportunity to receive a free general admission ticket when they present their employee identification badge at the Charlotte Sports Park box office the day of the game.
BaseBALL Dinner and Auction
The Sixth Annual BaseBALL Dinner and Auction benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Charlotte County will be held on Friday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Charlotte Sports Park. To purchase tickets, fans should call (941) 979-8379. For the seventh consecutive year, the Rays will be featured at the event. Rays Manager Kevin Cash, his coaching staff and several players are expected to attend.
Cut for a Cure
The Rays will continue their annual tradition of shaving their heads as part of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure" on Saturday, March 12 prior to the Rays-Yankees game at Charlotte Sports Park. For the fifth consecutive year, Rays coaches, players and front office staff will shave their heads to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. Details will be announced at a later date.
School Employee Appreciation Day
The Rays will celebrate School Employee Appreciation Day on Tuesday, March 15 vs. the Phillies, during the week of spring break. The Rays will offer the teachers and employees of the Charlotte County and North Port Schools free tickets to the game at Charlotte Sports Park. School employees need only to present their employee identification badge at the Charlotte Sports Park box office the day of the game to receive a free general admission ticket. As part of that initiative, the Rays will also make visits to Charlotte County Schools to promote reading.
Charlotte County Area Chambers Day
The Rays will host Chambers Day on Friday, March 25 vs. the Twins. Members of the Charlotte County, North Port, Venice, Englewood and Boca Grande Chambers of Commerce will have access to a special ticket offer for the game, including light food, beverages and networking for $17. Chamber members can receive more information and purchase tickets by contacting their chamber, calling the Charlotte Stone Crabs at (941) 206-HITS or emailing email@example.com.