Rays to provide jerseys and caps for 5,500 area T-ballers
The Rays are launching a community-friendly initiative to provide jerseys and caps for more than 5,500 T-ball players and coaches throughout the Tampa Bay region.
The program, in coordination with Little League Baseball, will outfit kids in Rays colors - in 18 combinations, created by Majestic - across 70 leagues in six counties, stretching south to Sarasota County, north to Pasco and east to Polk.
The leagues estimate the program will save more than $115,000, according to the Rays, allowing for funds to be used to upgrade facilities, purchase equipment and repair concession areas.
"We've heard from so many Little Leagues and parents over the last few years that all the kids in their leagues want to be the Rays when teams are assigned,'' senior VP Mark Fernandez said. "By partnering with Majestic, a local company and the official MLB provider, we were able to fulfill that request and at the same time allow the leagues to put their resources toward other needs.''
The Rays also will stage clinics for the youth teams, starting this weekend at the Trop for several invited Pinellas and Hillsborough leagues, featuring coaches Jim Hickey and Derek Shelton, pitcher Jake Odorizzi and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Also, Rays outfielder Matt Joyce on Wednesday will present a $5,700 check to All Children's Hospital of Brandon, proceeds from his annual "Sweet Swingin' Baseball Camp" that also benefits North Brandon Youth Baseball.