Will the Rays Thanksmas Evolve Post Maddon?
It was an event that made spaghetti, pierogies and hand-formed meatballs fashionable at holiday time. Served meals to many who would not have a holiday meal in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Sarasota/Manatee counties. Thanksmas had become more than just a symbol of the season here in Tampa Bay.
It was a time for the Rays staff, front office and the community to celebrate after another great season as well as see old familiar faces and new smiles while dining on Hazelton, Pa classics. Sure 4 seasons ago Rays former Manager Joe Maddon inspired and perspired in the first carnation of this event, but as it grew so did the locations, participants and the joyous goodwill and harmony this embodies the holiday season.
But now that Maddon has traded his Carolina blue Rays jersey for Chicago Cubs pinstripes, what is the future of the event?
Maddon is adamant that the holiday event will continue in some form for years to come, but you have to wonder if the Rays might want to have their own face front and center starting with the 2015 event, or maybe even embrace a pairing of Maddon and Cash in a compassionate solidarity towards promoting a holiday harmonious event of giving back to Tampa Bay.
Maddon, who is also a part of Ava’s ownership stake spoke with his Ava partners and they were onboard with the Cub’s new skipper’s idea of bringing hot food and maybe some cold cash into the hands of the area’s homeless and unfortunate as sometimes a little extra money can transform a life on the streets into something amazing and uplifting.
Last night former Rays and Tampa native Tino Martinez and current Ray Kevin Kiermaier joined in with Maddon at South Tampa bistro Ava, to help collect $22,000 in donation to this year’s event which also will have some cash assistance and donation to its participants.
Maddon was proud to tell participants at last night’s fundraising gala: “This is the message I wanted to get out to the shelters and people connected with this…This is not going away.”
So we know that Maddon is committed to continuing the seasonal event, but you have to wonder if the Rays might also fashion their own version of “Thanksmas” in the future with Cash holding the golden spatula.
Thanks-Mas was a brilliant brainchild of Maddon’s to help the Tampa Bay community. It got people from all walks of life involved and wanting to give back to our community during the holiday season as well as be a great inspirational story for everyone involved.
We truly do not know what will happen in the future for Thanksmas, but we can dream.
Salvation Army Tampa area commander Major James Chip Hall probably summed it up best regarding Thankmas when he stated: “It’s important for people here to know they matter. That was the one thing Joe was good at. He told them that they’re not invisible. That they’re not forgotten.”
Maybe we should tinker the recipe of the event to include a dash of Cash to go along with the present ingredients of a cup of the Rays, an ounce of Maddon combined with a pinch of compassion and pound of giving that has made this event flourish.
That sounds like a perfect recipe for future success of the holiday event not matter what its future name might become.
Here is the 2014 Thanksmas Schedule:
Monday, December 15 Sallie House
Tuesday, December 16 St. Petersburg Salvation Army, Tampa Salvation Army
Wednesday, December 17 Homeless Emergency Project
Thursday, December 18 Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
Friday, December 19 Bradenton Salvation Army