(Bradenton, FL) The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the promotional schedule for 2015 Spring Training Games. The Pirates play 16 games at McKechnie Field this spring, starting with the Black and Gold Game, an intra-squad contest on Monday, March 2.
The Black and Gold Game starts at noon on March 2. All tickets cost $8 and proceeds benefit the Manatee Education Foundation, Wakeland Elementary School, and G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School. The length of the Black and Gold Game varies and often does not last nine innings.
Pirates Spring Training games will feature several giveaways at the gate in 2015. All giveaway items are distributed on a first come first served basis and available only while supplies last. On Wednesday, March 4, Pepsi presents a Pirates cell phone wallet giveaway. Pepsi will present a Pirates drawstring bag giveaway at the Spring Training night game on Wednesday, March 18. Thursday, March 5 is SRQ Airport Day, featuring a Pirates luggage tag giveaway. Manatee Memorial Hospital and Humana will give away eco-friendly bags at the fourth annual Senior and Caregiver Expo on Friday, March 13. Baseball America will give away free magazines at the gates on March 9 and March 24.
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Pirate Fest presented by ABC 7 will be held on Sunday, March 15. A free fan festival will be held outside McKechnie Field from 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The festival features free player autographs, games, prizes, and live music by Matthew Huff. There will also be a food drive benefitting the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program. Fans that donate five or more non-perishable food items at the gates will be entered into a raffle to win great prizes. A ticket is required to enter the ballpark for the 1:05 p.m. game against the Orioles.
Saturday, March 28, the Pirates will give back to the community and honor veterans by holding Military Appreciation Day and United Way Day. A pre-game ceremony will be held to honor selected local veterans on field. Each branch of the military will also be recognized over the public address system with the corresponding songs played. For each ticket purchased to the March 28 game, the Pirates will donate $2 to the United Way of Manatee County.
Saturday, March 7 is Herald-Tribune Media Group Day and Manatee County Schools Appreciation Day. Anyone presenting a Manatee County School District ID at the box office can purchase grandstand tickets for $12 while supplies last. The discount is limited to four tickets per school ID.
Every weekend game features the opportunity for children 12 and younger to run the bases by participating in a Kids Fun Run presented by Mosaic. Games featuring a Kids Fun Run are March 7, March 15, March 21, and March 28.
Before games begin, the Pirates will hold the annual Pirates Pep Rally in downtown Bradenton on Saturday, February 28. The rally on Old Main Street runs from 5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. and features live music by Yesterdayze, autograph signings, kids games, a photo booth, giveaways, and other fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The 8th Annual Pirates Charities Spring Training Golf Classic presented by TLI Sports is Sunday, March 1. Foursomes will team up with a Pirates celebrity to support the efforts of Pirates Charities in the region. For more information about the Spring Training Golf Classic, please contact Carley Paganelli by phone at 941-747-3031 ex. 4362 or by email at Carley.Paganelli@Pirates.com.
For more information about the Pirates Spring Training, call 941-747-3031 or visit www.Pirates.com.
Great jazz in Sarasota this past Sunday. At the First Church, downtown Sarasota, Jim Wellen, Dominic Mancini, Tommy Goodman and Johnny Moore did 2 shows as part of the First Church Jazz Series which runs monthly through April.
Sunday night, the Sarasota Jazz Project big band tore it up at the Copa Restaurant (301 near Fruitville Rd) in Sarasota.
The band is scheduled to play at the Copa on Sunday nights 6:30 to 8:30 PM.
(St. Petersburg, FL) The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their 18th spring training and seventh in Charlotte County on Monday, February 23 when first-year Manager Kevin Cash and his staff welcome 38 pitchers and catchers to Charlotte Sports Park. The players will take the field at 9:30 a.m. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 28 when the camp expands to 62 players, including 22 non-roster invites. For all spring training workouts, admission and parking are free.
There will be many new faces. In his first 92 days as President of Baseball Operations, Matt Silverman engineered seven trades involving a total of 30 players; added two major league free agents; signed all eight arbitration eligible players prior to the exchange deadline; and hired a rookie major league manager and two major league coaches.
Eleven players on the 40-man roster were not in the organization when the Rays opened spring training camp last year on February 15, and eight have joined the organization since the end of the 2014 regular season. Thirty-two of the 40 players on the current roster made their Rays debut in 2012 or later.
The Rays will begin their defense of the Grapefruit League crown on Thursday, March 5 vs. the Baltimore Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park. In 2014, the Rays had Major League Baseball’s best spring training record (16-7-4), and their Grapefruit League title was their third in the last seven seasons, following 2008 and 2010. Since 2008, the Rays have the majors’ fourth-best record in the regular season and the fourth best record in spring training play. Since becoming the Rays in 2008, the team has recorded at least 15 wins in six out of seven spring trainings. They had never achieved this in 10 springs as the Devil Rays.
On Friday, March 6 prior to the Rays vs. Minnesota Twins game at Charlotte Sports Park, the Rays will continue their annual tradition of shaving their heads as part of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure.” For the fourth consecutive year, Rays coaches, players and front office staff will shave their heads to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. To show support for a player or participant, the public is encouraged to text “PCF” to 20222 to make a $10 donation or visit pcfcutforacure.org. Fans will be able to shave their heads with the Rays that day and receive a “Rays Cut for a Cure” T-shirt for a $100 donation. That game will also be the 500th spring training game in club history.
NEW FACES ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER (8)
Signed as Free Agents (2): INF Asdrubal Cabrera, RHP Ernesto Frieri
Acquired in Trades (6): RHP Jose Dominguez, C/DH John Jaso, RHP Kevin Jepsen, C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith, OF Steven Souza Jr.
KEY LOSSES (10)
Released (1): C Jose Molina
Traded (9): SS Yunel Escobar, C Ryan Hanigan, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, OF Matt Joyce, OF Wil Myers, RHP Joel Peralta, LHP Cesar Ramos, INF/OF Sean Rodriguez, INF/OF Ben Zobrist
Friday, February 20, Noon—Pre-spring training press conference at Charlotte Sports Park with Rays Manager Kevin Cash and President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman. Lunch will be provided by the Charlotte Harbor Visitor and Convention Bureau following the press conference.
Saturday, February 21, 11 a.m.—2015 Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field. Most Rays players and coaches are expected to attend.
Monday, February 23, 9:30 a.m.—First workout, pitchers and catchers.
Friday, February 27, 8 a.m.—Photo Day for Media Only. All players and coaches will be available for head-and-shoulders photos. Media planning to attend should notify the Rays Communications dept.
Saturday, February 28, 9:30 a.m.—First workout, full squad and Spring Training Fan Day.
Wednesday, March 4, 12:30 p.m.—Rays Charity Golf Tournament to benefit Rays Baseball Foundation at Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Bradenton (15150 70th Terrace E.). All Rays players and coaches are expected to attend.
Thursday, March 5, 1:05 p.m.—Military Appreciation Day at Rays Grapefruit League opener vs. Baltimore Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park.
Friday, March 6 (pregame)—For the fourth consecutive year, the Rays will shave their heads in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure” program.
DID YOU KNOW? Last March, readers of USA Today voted Charlotte Sports Park their favorite spring training destination. Those visitors accounted for an economic impact value of nearly $21 million for Charlotte County in 2014, according to data supplied by the Charlotte Harbor Visitor and Convention Bureau. The Rays-Red Sox game last March 19 drew 7,852 fans, the largest crowd in the 22- year history of spring training baseball in Charlotte County.
MINOR LEAGUE CAMP—The first workout for minor league pitchers and catchers at Charlotte Sports Park is March 7. The first workout for minor league position players is March 11. At that time there will be approximately 150 players in minor league camp.
RAYS PARTNER WITH CHARLOTTE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR—The Sixth Annual BaseBALL Dinner & Auction benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County will be held on Friday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m., at Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center in Punta Gorda. To purchase tickets, fans should call (941) 979-8379. For the sixth consecutive year, the Rays will be featured at the event. Expected this year are Rays Manager Kevin Cash, his coaching staff and several players.
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(Sarasota, FL) On Monday, February 23, the Orioles will hold the 5th Annual OriolesREACH Birdland Golf Classic at The Founders Club to benefit the Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball, regardless of their ability. The event begins with registration and lunch at 11:00 a.m., with a shotgun start set for 12:30 p.m. The registration deadline for this year’s event is this Sunday, February 8.
The classic will feature a silent auction and the chance to play a round with current and former Orioles players and coaches. Manager Buck Showalter and current Orioles Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Darren O’Day and Chris Tillman are among the many Orioles scheduled to attend. Since its inception, the Birdland Golf Classic has raised more than $125,000 for the Miracle League of Manasota.
For the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and their adult counterparts in Sarasota and Manatee counties, a synthetically-surfaced baseball field with all the requisite amenities was built in 2012 in Longwood Park, 6050 Longwood Run Boulevard, north of University Parkway in Sarasota. Sarasota County committed $500,000 to building the field, with the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates each contributing $75,000. Since opening in March 2012, the league has played six seasons.
For more information or to register for the golf event, visit www.miracleleaguemanasota.org or contact the Miracle League of Manasota at (941) 225-2966 or email@example.com.
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(St. Petersburg, FL) Autograph passes for the 2015 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest presented by the Tampa Bay Times will go on sale this week. Rays Fan Fest is scheduled for Saturday, February 21 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field. For the 20th consecutive year, admission and parking for Rays Fan Fest are free.
Like last year, autographs at Fan Fest will only be available with the purchase of an autograph pass. These player-specific passes go on sale to the general public at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4 exclusively on raysbaseball.com (subject to availability). Rays Members—Season Ticket Holders and Flex Pack buyers—will also receive information regarding pre-sale opportunities for these passes.
Autograph passes provide access to a player at a specific time frame during Fan Fest. A limited number of passes will be sold for each signing player and all sales must be completed online, exclusively on raysbaseball.com, in advance of Fan Fest and will not be available for sale on the day of or during Fan Fest. The cost of each autograph pass is $25 per player.
All proceeds from autograph sales will benefit the ALS Association Florida Chapter. At Rays Fan Fest in 2014, between the Rays Charity Yard Sale at 162 Landing and autograph sales, $100,000 was raised to benefit local charities.
Once again, there will be one player autograph station free for kids 14 and under and for fans who have purchased autograph passes. More than 30 former major league players will be available to sign autographs for free throughout the day to go along with personalized interaction with Rays players and coaches and numerous activities for kids.
Additionally, fans can become a Rays Member by purchasing a limited edition Fan Fest Flex Pack that includes a Kevin Kiermaier Bobblehead and an autograph pass pre-sale opportunity by visiting raysbaseball.com or calling 888-FAN-RAYS.
For more information about the 2015 Rays Fan Fest, fans can visit raysbaseball.com/fanfest. More event details will be released soon.
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