Autograph Wristbands to Cost $40 at Rays Fan Fest
During the Tampa Bay Rays 2011 Fan Fest, there will again ask for a donation fee for those over 14 years of age or who are not Rays Season Ticket holders who want to seek an autograph of their favorite Rays player. This year that honor will cost you $ 40. Immediately I am expecting to hear those adult voices rise up into a higher octave and even denounce or boycott the autograph lines.
I, for one will pay the $ 40 with a smile on my face for the entire amount will go the Rays Baseball Foundation and also the foundation for two St. Petersburg Police officer’s families. It is also a chance for those “collectors” to make their own charitable donation to help support the many Rays Baseball Foundation charities that need yearly support.
Still there will be those who want their voices heard loud and clear. For them I want to remind them that the Rays Fan fest is a mostly FREE event. That it is not held in a convention center like the 2011 SoxFest or 2011 PiratesFest,. It will be featured upon the NEW Astroturf surface of Tropicana Field. But still there will be those distracters that want to showcase the bad president instead of the good this small amount of $ 40 will do for those in need within our Tampa Bay community.
That is how spoiled we have become as Rays fans. No tickets are needed for entry like at the Milwaukee Brewers 3rd annual On-Deck experience ($15) or the recent Orioles Fest which cost $ 12 for adults and $ 4 for kids under 14 or adults over 55. Somehow we as member of the Rays Republic have forgotten what this event is really all about.
It is a time to rejoice about the beginning of a new Rays season. It is the time for utter excitement, plus the first day to purchase single game Rays tickets. It is about celebrating Spring with both the old and the new Rays players, and welcome them to our team with huge smiles. And all without a single dollar spent for admission fees.
$ 40 is not much considering it covers every autograph session of the event, including all of the designated players in your line in your autograph line during that time period. Did you know at SoxFest, which is also a 3-day event, there are daily limits for individual autographs and photos with players? Would you want the Rays to institute a possible $ 15 voucher offer in 2012 for each selected player or alumni group during a time period with it possibly of it selling out even before you get on your computer, or arrive that day to Fan Fest?
Would you be happier if the Rays decided o go the route of the Atlanta Braves and just have a yearly scheduled Rays caravan each Spring instead of a day celebrating Rays baseball with the whole community invited? The Braves 2011 caravan actually began on January 24,2011 in Macon, Georgia and will make several other stops before finally concluding on February 5,2011 in Madison/Nashville, Tennessee. During their caravan, the Braves will only have one chance for Braves fans to get the autograph of new member Dan Uggla, who ill only be appearing at the last event in Tennessee.
At the Rays Fan Fest, all signed Rays players plus most of their minor league players will be at a Rays signing table at some point in the day. You cannot be guaranteed that at other team Fan Fest. Think about it, $ 40 could get you Evan Longoria, David Price, Rays Manager Joe Maddon, plus possibly get autographs from newly signed Rays players Manny Ramirez, Dirk Hayhurst and Johnny Damon. More than worth the one time expenditure.
In recent years, the Rays have also heard you loud and clear on the congestion and turmoil that multiple players signing can provide with duo lines sometimes forming at the first table, or snaking lines going all the way out of the Rightfield tunnel into the concourse. A staff member of the Rays wrote to me that the Rays are trying to eliminate those kinds of autograph headaches during Fan Fest, but a popular player will still garner a huge line and a possible result of no signature before the next group arrives for their singing times.
That might mean moving a popular player towards the middle two sections of the autograph area, but that is still better than not getting a chance at all to get a autograph after the singing sessions are sold out in advance of Fan Fest or cost $15 for each scheduled autograph session like OriolesFest.
Do not forget again that the $ 40 fee for the Rays autograph sessions wristband (for those over 14) will benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation in their ongoing endeavors to help baseball flourish in this community. If you wanted to attend all 5 signature groupings during OriolesFest, it would cost you upwards to $ 75 dollars for the same amount of signatures.
Plus if your Rays player signings at Table 2 get completed in time for you to possibly stand in Table 3’s autograph line during the designated time span, it will not cost you anything additional unlike the OriolesFest. At SoxFest, your voucher was only for that player during that time period, not for unlimited usage or wandering into additional lines for signatures.
Or maybe you might want to force the Rays to reconsider their FREE admittance and possible charge $ 15 dollars like they did at the Brewers event at the Frontier Airlines Center.
A $ 40 one day autograph wristband charge for signatures to me is a bargain any day. Considering the additional fees and signature admittance charges of other Major League Baseball fan events, it is a down right steal. Still, you child under 14 can still stroll up to their favorite player and get a signed autograph or smile at no charge…and how can you even put a price on something like that.