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The Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by MetroPCS was better than ever in 2013.
More than 25,000 fans flooded Tropicana Field on Saturday, February 16 to celebrate the start of the season with Rays players and coaches.
From 9 Am to 4 PM, Tampa Bay faithful got up close and personal with their favorite Rays in a variety of ways. Autograph sessions, a wiffle ball home run derby among MLB alumni legends, the Reading with the Rays children's summer reading program and more gave fans unprecedented access to Major Leaguers throughout the day.
Overall, Fan Fest raised more than one hundred thousand dollars for the Rays Baseball Foundation and the local chapter of the ALS Foundation. An enormous yard sale in Left Field featuring caps, jerseys, bats, t-shirts, and autographed items generated more than 60 thousand dollars for the Foundation.
The MetroPCS Call-A-Friend experience has become a tradition for Rays fans. This year, Jeremy Hellickson, Desmond Jennings, Sean Rodriguez and Matt Moore were on hand to make calls to fans' friends and family, some across the country, others across the field. Other favorites of the day were the many activities held at the Pepsi stage, where fans could watch players, coaches and personalities such as MLB Network's Peter Gammons talk about expectations for the upcoming season. Two lucky Rays families even got to play Family Feud with Shelley Duncan and Sean Rodriguez on the stage. Fans lined up to check out the new Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, the 2013 Traverse, Silverado and Malibu models and to enter to win a getaway at TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach.
For the kids things were even better. At the Sagicor Coaches Clinic they received instruction from Rays coaches like Dave Martinez and Tom Foley, while the Sweetbay Run the Bases and High Five station saw kids running the bags at Tropicana Field just like their favorite Major Leaguers, complete with a high five at home plate from players such as Roberto Hernandez and Sam Fuld.
The 2013 Rays Fan Fest presented by MetroPCS was a perfect way to kick off another season of Tampa Bay Rays baseball.