Tasty 2011 Fan Fest Morsels to Whet Your Rays Appetite





By now most of the Tampa Bay Rays Republic members have either read the MLB.com blog post by fellow MLBlogs.com’s own Bill Chastain giving you a rough outline of some of the great events planned for the Rays 2011 Fan Fest. Or possibly you have heard a few more fantastic developments through the Rays “Sunshine Telegraph” on other Fan Fest revelations being thrown out into the Rays-verse.It has made more than a few of us hungry for baseball, and ready to consume some more Rays memories, but it is about to get even better. I got a few more really tasty morsels I have digested over the last few days, and want to divulge today hoping it will give the Tampa Bay community even more reasons for all baseball fans to flock to the Trop on February 19,2011 and touch and experience Tropicana Field’s NEW Astroturf II surface.

But that is just a small tapas plate of the new revelations currently getting me salivating and eager to be pressing my nose to the Trop’s Gate 1 window waiting for the Fan Hosts to throw open the doors. I know I will not be able to experience this one event, but the kid’s press conference with a actual Rays player still sounds like the thing of dreams to me. What I would give to be under 14 again and be able to ask any one of the Rays players a serious question about the game.

Just when you thought the Rays had outdone themselves in their 2010 Fan Fest, they go all “Raiders of the Lost Rays Gear” and provide a glimpse back into the Rays early past with a Rays Baseball Foundation Yard Sale that will showcase past items from as far back as the 1998 First Season. All proceeds of this Yard Sale will go to help organizations throughout Tampa Bay. Believe me, the items that have already been told to me have both my wallet and my mind excited and anxious for the doors to swing open.



One of the items I am most excited is a chance to purchase an actual MLB authenticated piece of the Rays Clubhouse carpet that has seen champagne spilled upon it more than a few times. And if that doesn’t get your pocketbook spinning a bit, how about possibly purchasing your own slice of fabric from the Trop’s old FieldTurf surface for your very own. Think about that package for a moment, you can get two pieces of Rays history, both authenticated by MLB, and you get to help those in need in the Tampa Bay community. Definitely sounds like a “win-win” situation to me.The Yard Sale will also include the usual fare of game used equipment and jerseys. And the greatest thing about the 2011 Rays Fan Fest is that it is still FREE to enter and take in the magic, with only a few events possibly costing you anything out of your pocket. I will get more into this in the coming week as to the events that will cost you some money at Fan fest, but remember again, all proceeds will benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation.

The Rays have even added in the last 24 hours the incentive that a portion of the overall proceeds from Fan Fest will also go to the families of two recently deceased St. Petersburg police officers. Great to see the Rays reach out with a kind hand to help a pair of families in need right now.

There will be the always popular events like the complimentary Clubhouse Tour, and the Metro PCS “Call a Friend table with a revolving array of Rays players returning this season. A great addition to the Fan Fest fanatic pace is a unique reading section where an actual Rays player will spend time and read with the kids.

This is extra exciting to me especially since Dirk Hayhurst was signed by the team . We could have a live rendition of the “Legend of the Garfoose“. Got my fingers crossed that we also might be able to hear JP Howell or his wife Heather Hennessy-Howell possibly reading the children’s journey, “The Adventures of Dangles“. This one section of Fan Fest could turn into a virtual Home Run by the Rays promotional department with a overcrowded area filled with kids of all ages listening into the stories. (Heck, I might try and sneak within hearing distance).

These are just a few reasons to red-circle the date of Saturday, February 19th on your calendars or set a vocal cell phone alert to be in line at 10 am when the Tropicana Field doors open on that date. Possible treasures from the first Rays season, hearing a Rays player read with or to your child, and maybe having someone like Evan Longoria call your boss or best friend.


This is one of those early moments of the season when finally you can breath and know that Spring is just around the corner and the sound of a bat on the ball is near. This season you can not only make Rays memories during Fan Fest with autographs, possibly get a high-5 from a Rays player as you cross Home Plate or take home a piece of Rays history for yourself.

So far the 2011 Rays Fan Fest is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in the team’s short history. Daily I am getting more and more tidbits of Fan Fest information and it just seems to escalate the excitement and the push for mid-February to get here faster.



 The profile photo was taken during my 2004 induction into the Tampa Bay Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame ceremony



It really sounds like the Rays organization puts a lot of thought into connecting with the fans and this sounds like another great event. I am sure you will have a blast. I am envious, actually. The Angels haven’t had a non-All Star Games related fan fest in years.
– Kristen

The Rays are a youth-based franchise from their owner down to the interns. Because of that, new great ideas get popped around by Mark Fernandez, Brian Killingsworth and a cast of thousands.
From their Carlos Pena toothbrush holder ( # 1 MLB Promo in 2010), to the limited edition James Shields-inspired back T-shirt, this Promotions Department is always thinking inside, outside and around the box for new clever ideas…And we in the Rays Republic salute them!

Rays Renegade


Thanks for stopping by my blog. I kinda hope that Sweeney considers coming to Spring Training with the Phillies. From what I hear he’s a great clubhouse guy. I don’t really know what team is going to be able to offer him more of a chance to play, and win then the Phillies.

How’s the weather down there? I’m looking forward to going down to Tampa in March for Spring Training. I went last year and had a blast.



The weather during Spring Training can be tricky. But Bright House Field where the Phillies play in Clearwater,Florida is one of the best parks in the Tampa Bay area. It can be chilly until the Sun gets high into the Florida sky, then you sweat a bit.
Still it is a great ballpark in a stellar community, but do not forget to have a brew at the Tilted Kilt, or breakfast at Lennies (Firehouse Omelette).

Rays Renegade

My buddies and I are in the process of planning out spring training spring break trip. First time I’ve ever been down there but Bradenton is a must. We want to hit as many teams as we can in the span of 5 days. If you can help me with directions or the best route to take or what not I would appreciate it immensely. I will try to tweet @ you or something closer to when we are set on hitting what specific places!


And what is FanFest without Rays Renegade? Looks like fun, man. Hope it is!

The Cubs have a Fan Weekend every winter also. I’ve never been and every year I tell myself I should go. I’ve already missed this years event but just reading your post makes me bummed that I missed it again. Next Year!

Have fun at RaysFest!

I will get you any information I can about the locales and the places to avoid….That is the easy part.
Within an hours drive of Bradenton is the Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and even Yankees Spring ballparks…a slight distance more is the BlueJays (but within a few miles of the Phillies).
Tons of great food, attractions and maybe even a little baeball thrown in for good measures. I will do what I can, and hope it makes the trip not only a fantastic memory, but the beginning of a yearly pilgrimage.

Rays Renegade

You hit the nail on the head.
It is one of the only MLB team sponsored events I know of that doesn’t have an admission or ticket needed. Just get in the car, drive and come enjoy the fun.
Plus the chance to get autographs for children under 14 is FREE.
But the Rays have always been open to the fact that kids are the next generation of ticket buyers and fans, so they focus long and hard with great events like Rays Rookies, Kid’s autograph Sundays, Park and Recreation Days during the Summer and of course, the Rays Reading series.
I just wish I could stay forever 14 and get the great promotions given out every Sunday home game.

Rays Renegade

It is a great opportunity for you to get to know some of the people who follow and work supporting the Cubs.
So much of this “inside info” I get is from people who I have either become game day friends with, or have known as a fan since 1998.
Without them, a lot of what I do would be so boring and contrite….and I would not be near the top of the pile. Hopefully they know I respect and honor their pieces of knowledge and advice, which in turns makes this a more informed piece of words scrambled via the electronic means.
You should make the Cubs Fan Weekend pilgrimage yearly….just like a holiday event.

Rays Renegade

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