The Tampa Bay Rays won’t have their usual Fan Fest to open the season with a day of games and interaction with players inside Tropicana Field. Last year, the Rays held a drive-thru fan event in the Tropicana Field parking lots to make up for the usual Fan Fest, which was lost to the pandemic.
This time, the delayed baseball season and truncated spring training are to blame, the team said. But they hope fans are intrigued by this year’s lineup of promotional giveaways.
“The shortened spring training and condensed timeline to prepare for the regular season has limited our ability to coordinate fan-centric events,” said Bill Walsh, chief business officer for the Rays. The team still has a lineup of giveaways this season and some promotional nights, he noted, and the newly installed Mackie-brand speakers and high-frequency tweeters “will improve the fan experience.”
The team may not be having an event, but Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill, nestled next to the stadium at 1320 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, plans a big party on Friday for the Rays’ home opener against the Orioles. The sports bar will open at 10 a.m. and have live music before and after the 3:10 p.m. game.
To those attending Friday’s game, the Rays will be giving away a schedule magnet. And on Sunday, kids 14 and younger will get a Rays Pop It. The trendy fidget toys have been popular with kids — or anyone who likes to pop bubble wrap. But these can be flipped and reused.
Here are some of the giveaways that will be available while supplies last. Some are available for kids only. For a full list, see RaysBaseball.com/promotions.
April 23: A Randy Arozarena bobblehead has a fun image of the leftfielder sliding into postseason legend when he stole home in Game 1 against Boston last October. The Rays are playing the Red Sox at the 6:10 p.m. game.
April 24: Kids 14 and younger will get some bold jersey socks when the Rays play the Red Sox.
May 27: Star shortstop Wander Franco is known for his flashy gold chains, and especially the diamond medallion with his No. 5 inscribed on it. When the Rays play the Yankees at 7:10 p.m., fans get some faux bling, too. There will also be a Wander Franco bobblehead giveaway on July 16 vs. Baltimore.
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June 21: Catcher Mike Zunino, an inductee in the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, is getting the Florida Man bobblehead treatment, with a gator at his feet holding a baseball. Zunino led the Gators to the College World Series in each of his three seasons.
Rays players and coaches will wear white alternate throwback Devil Rays jerseys and navy blue retro caps during five Saturday home games.
The five Devil Rays Days will take place on May 28 vs. Yankees; June 25 vs. Pittsburgh; July 30 vs. Guardians (when a Devil Rays basketball jersey will be the giveaway); Aug. 20 vs. Royals and Sept. 24 vs. Blue Jays (when a clear tote bag with a Devil Rays logo will be given out).