Tampa Bay Rays “Thanksmas” Day of Volunteering Set for July 11

(St. Petersburg, FL) Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon and team employees will serve lunch at the Trinity Café in Tampa on Friday, July 11 as part of the Rays “Thanksmas” Day of Volunteering, a new initiative involving a number of Tampa Bay area shelters.

For the past eight Decembers, Maddon has hosted “Thanksmas”, a weeklong event in which he purchases, prepares and serves a traditional Italian/Polish holiday feast for hundreds of needy citizens at local shelters.

“Our goal is to expand “Thanksmas” in some fashion every year,” said Maddon. “There are an increasing number of people who ask how they can get involved. The “Thanksmas” Day of Volunteering allows for greater participation and also brings attention to the homeless issue at a time of the year when it is not top of mind.”

On July 11, anyone who volunteers for general duty at one of the local shelters participating in the “Thanksmas” Day of Volunteering will receive a ticket to the Rays- Red Sox home game on July 27, a “Thanksmas” Day of Volunteering T-shirt and the opportunity to be included in a group photo with the Rays manager.

The shelters participating are the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater and The Salvation Army Chapters of St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton. Volunteers must register with a shelter by July 8. For more information and to sign up, visit raysbaseball.com/thanksmas.

Maddon will participate by serving lunch at the Trinity Café, which serves more than 260 hot, nutritious meals each day to homeless, hungry, and working poor. The meals are prepared by a professional chef and served by volunteer servers. The guests sit at cloth-covered tables set with china dishes and silverware. They are asked for nothing in return.

On July 11, the Rays will purchase the food and Chef Alfred Astl will prepare Maddon’s “Thanksmas” feast. Trinity Café is located at 2801 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa.

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CBS Sports Adds Former NFL Referee Mike Carey to Football Broadcasts This Season

(New York, NY) CBS Sports has added former NFL Official Mike Carey to the broadcast team for coverage of Thursday Night Football on CBS and NFL Network, and THE NFL ON CBS coverage on Sundays during the 2014 NFL season.

Carey will provide rules analysis, interpretation and explanations on Thursday nights from the game site, as well as NFL Network’s studio in Culver City, California and on Sundays from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City.

“So many times throughout the years of watching Mike officiate, I often thought it would be great to have him someday work for CBS explaining the calls on the field,” said McManus. “We’re excited that this has now come to fruition. He will be a great complement to our Thursday Night Football and Sunday afternoon coverage.”

CBS Sports

Carey spent 24 years as an NFL official, including 19 as a referee. He joined the NFL from the Western Athletic Conference in 1990 as a side judge. Carey was promoted to referee for the start of the 1995 NFL season. He was the referee for Super Bowl XLII (New England Patriots-N.Y. Giants). In addition, he has officiated four playoff games as a side judge (two Wild Cards and two Conference Championships) and 14 playoff games as a referee (eight Wild Cards, five Divisionals and Super Bowl XLII).

Carey is the co-owner of Seirus Innovation, a privately held company that manufactures ski and snowboarding gloves, face protection, and other cold-weather accessories. He also is an inventor who owns or shares eight ski apparel patents. Carey is a past Chairman of the Board of Snow Sports Industries of America’s, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the NFL Officials Association.

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Bradenton Marauders Host Star Wars Night July 19 to raise funds for Center for Building Hope

(Bradenton, FL) The Bradenton Marauders will hold Star Wars Night on Saturday, July 19 when the team hosts the Clearwater Threshers at McKechnie Field. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. The game will help benefit the Center for Building Hope in the fight against Cancer.

The Marauders will dress in jerseys custom made to resemble the uniform of Star Wars character bounty hunter Boba Fett. The jerseys will be auctioned off in a silent auction held during the game to benefit the Center for Building Hope. Auction winners will be invited onto the field after the game to receive their jersey and have it autographed by the player of coach wearing it.
Star Wars Night Jersey
A survivor’s walk around the warning track will be held at 5:45 to recognize all cancer survivors in attendance. A charity balloon pop is also being held during the game to benefit the Center for Building Hope. Fans will be able to pay $10 or $20 to pop a balloon and receive the prize that corresponds to the chosen balloon.

Fans can get pictures with their favorite Star Wars characters at picturesque McKechnie Field. A full cast of costumed characters will be in attendance. The Marauders also encourage their fans to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters. A costume contest will be held in the sixth inning to determine the best dressed.

The ticket office opens two hours before Saturday, Sunday, and morning games. Single game tickets can be purchased at the ticket office, online at www.BradentonMarauders.com, or by phone be calling 877-893-2827.

For more information about the Bradenton Marauders please call 941-747-3031, visit www.BradentonMarauders.com.

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Gulf Coast League Orioles Open Season Friday at Ed Smith Stadium

(Sarasota, FL) The Baltimore Orioles Gulf Coast League (GCL) team will play its first home game of the 2014 season at the Ed Smith Stadium complex on Friday, June 20 at 12:00 p.m. against the GCL Rays. The GCL, which includes 14 teams in Florida, gives recently drafted or signed players their first experience in professional baseball.

The Orioles are scheduled to play 30 GCL home games between June 20 and August 28. The games are open to the public at no cost. Parking also is free and is located in the east lot on the corner of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. Game times and location are subject to change without notice. A link to the season schedule is available online at www.orioles.com/Sarasota.

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BitPay Signs on as New St. Petersburg Bowl Game Title Sponsor

(St. Petersburg, FL) ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, has announced BitPay, the world’s leader in business solutions for the bitcoin digital currency, as the new title sponsor for the annual college football postseason game played in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field. Beginning with this year’s December 26 game, the bowl will now be known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. BitPay will serve as title sponsor for three years through the 2016 game.

“Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity,” said Tony Gallippi, Executive Chairman for BitPay. “College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic – tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40.”

By sponsoring the bowl game, BitPay is not only hoping to stimulate the bitcoin community around the event, but also to further promote interest in the digital currency on a national scale. The bowl game will be an exciting opportunity to enable fans to use bitcoin in a fun, collegiate sports environment. With a rapport of over 33,000 merchants and growing, BitPay has led the bitcoin economy by allowing businesses around the world to easily accept bitcoin. The attention brought to bitcoin by the game will only further boost its ascension into the mainstream.

Bitcoin Bowl Log

“We’re extremely excited to welcome BitPay to college football and our bowl home in St. Petersburg,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial arrangement.”

The 2014 game will be played on Friday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The game, which will once again air on ESPN, is in its first-year of its new conference affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the American Athletic Conference.

Tickets for the 2014 Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will go on sale later this year with prices starting as low as just $40. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets and merchandise will also be available to purchase with bitcoin.

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