Sold-out Pride Night will benefit Orlando victims
ST. PETERSBURG — A sold-out crowd of around 40,000 is expected at Tropicana Field tonight as the Rays dedicate their annual Pride Night to victims of the mass shooting in Orlando.
The Rays are donating 100 percent of the proceeds from tickets sold since Tuesday as well as from the 50-50 raffle to help victims' families and will have donation centers around the Trop (also at gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund). There also will be a blood drive (starting at 4 p.m.) with donors getting a voucher for two tickets to any future 2016 game.
Also, there will be a moment of silence with the victims' names scrolled across the video board; the national anthem and God Bless America will be performed by Una Voce, the Florida Men's Chorale; all fans will receive a "We Are Orlando" T-shirt; MLB VP of Social Responsibility Billy Bean will throw out the first pitch; and commissioner Rob Manfred will provide a videoboard message.
"It'll be nice to give people something to smile about in such a harsh time," said Rays starter Chris Archer. "What the Rays organization is doing is very special. I don't know many other organizations, not just in sports but in general, doing something this significant."
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer