The Tampa Bay Rays are entering the team's ninth Spring Training season in Charlotte County. The Rays are proud to call Charlotte County home for the spring and are excited to support the community through several events and community days during the 2017 Spring Training season.
On February 8, the Rays visited LA Ainger Middle School in Englewood where some of our international players spoke about what motivates them to always do their best. Players also fielded questions about a typical day in the life of a baseball player and first impressions of life in the United States.
Chris Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays and Good Sports presented new athletic and fitness equipment to the Imagine School at North Port in March 2017. The donation, valued at over $10,000, includes baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and fitness equipment. Archer spoke to students about working just as hard in school as on the playing field, as well as the importance of setting goals and following their dreams.
The Rays hosted multiple Charlotte County chambers for a Business Breakfast at Charlotte Sports Park on February 14. Chamber members participated in a Q&A session with Tampa Bay Rays President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom and watched pitchers and catchers take part in the first workout of the spring!
The Rays attended a Circus Sarasota performance on February 15 where Latin American players and Latin American circus performers sat down after the performance to talk about how they train and push their bodies to the limits for every performance. They learned about the challenges and benefits of adjusting to life in a different country as they work toward achieving their dreams.
The Rays held an exclusive Spring Training Season Ticket Holder kick-off event at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday, February 19. Spring Training Season Ticket Holders enjoyed a buffet barbecue picnic at the ballpark and watched the Rays workout. After workouts, season ticket holders participated in a Q & A hosted by Rays Radio announcers Dave Wills and Andy Freed, and took advantage of the unique opportunity to have their photo taken with a Rays player!
The eighth annual BaseBALL Dinner and Auction benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County is on Thursday, February 23 at 6 p.m. at Charlotte Sports Park. Manager Kevin Cash, his coaching staff and several players are expected to attend. To purchase tickets, call (941) 235-2472.
Saturday, February 25 was Rays Spring Training Opening Day and Military Appreciation Day, a tribute to the men and women of Charlotte County who have served their country. The USSOCOM Parachute Team delivered the American flag and ceremonial first pitch ball as part of a special pregame presentation. Fans enjoyed a Pregame Fan Fest with player autographs, Rays mascot appearances, giveaways, live music, games, face painters, balloon artists and more!
Rays staff, along with mascot Raymond, served dinner to approximately 100 people at the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition on Tuesday, February 28 following the Rays vs. Twins game!
Heroes Day was held on Wednesday, March 1 in recognition of Charlotte County area police, fire, EMT and other first responders at the Rays vs. Phillies game. The organizations were be honored on the field before the game and representatives threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Moffitt Cancer Center "Spring Swing" visited Charlotte Sports Park on March 4 for the Rays vs. the Baltimore Orioles game. A mobile patrol and skin screening unit were present, allowing fans the opportunity for a free skin screening.
Saturday, March 4 was Charlotte County Public Schools Employee Appreciation Day at the Rays vs. Orioles game. School employees were honored on the field before the game and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Rays offered tickets to the approximately 2,200 teachers and employees of the Charlotte County Public School system.
Charlotte County Day was on Thursday, March 9 in recognition of Charlotte County employees at the Rays vs. Pirates game. Employees were honored on the field prior to the game and had the opportunity to throw a ceremonial first pitch. The Rays also provided Charlotte County employees with complimentary tickets to the game.
Rays players, coaches and front-office staff will shave their heads in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure" program on March 19 prior to the Rays vs. Phillies game. This will be the sixth straight year the Rays shave their heads to raise awareness and pay tribute to children fighting cancer.
Little League Day was celebrated on March 19 when the Rays hosted the Phillies. Little Leaguers and coaches from Port Charlotte and North Port Area Little Leagues received complimentary tickets on the day of the game by wearing their Little League jersey. Representatives from each league also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
The Rays annual Spring Training "Community Day" was on March 20. The Rays recognized numerous community groups with a pregame presentation and groups received a donation from the Rays Baseball Foundation. Community group representatives also threw out a ceremonial first pitch. The Rays partnered with the United Way of Charlotte County to host several of the organization's partner agencies as special guests.
Rays staff participated in a build day in support of Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity on Wednesday, March 29 prior to the Rays vs. Orioles game!