The Tampa Bay Rays' Fan Fest is this Saturday and is free to the public. With a $40 donation, you get the opportunity to collect autographs from the players in attendance. Everything else is pretty much a la carte. In true Off Base fashion, I'll preview the scheduled events for the Fan Fest while adding my suggestions for improvement.
RAYS CHARITY YARD SALE
What it is - Fans will have the opportunity to purchase unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season.
What it should be - An actual yard sale of junk Rays personnel are trying to unload. Evan Longoria's futon that he wasn't able to get the foot stench out of. Jeremy Hellickson's socks that produced the aforementioned foot stench. B.J Upton's collection of Justin Upton rookie cards that he drew funny facial hair on. Joe Maddon's 1950s style eye-glasses that are no longer up to date with his prescription.
What it is - Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon will serve up his traditional “Thanksmas” meal. A limited number of fans will have the opportunity to chat with Maddon over a plate of his homemade spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogies. $30 in advance, $40 at the door.
What it should be - If spaghetti, meatballs and sausage are Maddon's thing, I want him slaving over them like he's in a Top Chef elimination challenge. I want to watch him run around Whole Foods trying to buy everything he needs on the Jumbo Tron and then watch him panic cook in the on-field kitchen trying to make enough for everybody. I'd also like Tom Colicchio to critique his salt usage.
FIELD TURF FOR SALE
What it is - For $25 fans can purchase one-by-one foot squares of Tropicana Field’s playing surface that was removed earlier this month. Also on sale at the same price are one-by-one foot squares of the carpet from the Rays clubhouse still soaked with champagne from the Rays 2010 postseason clinching celebration.
What it should be - Boy, that mildew infested carpet sure is tempting. But they'd probably raise more money by selling $25 bags of pot. The Joe Maddon glaucoma special, if you will.
CHAT WITH KEN ROSENTHAL FROM FOX SPORTS
What it is - Ken Rosenthal will take any and all baseball questions from fans from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
What it should be - Midget juggling. The first person to successfully juggle Rosenthal, Tony Cox and Verne Troyer wins season tickets.
READING WITH THE RAYS
What it is - The event will also include a designated area for “Reading with the Rays,” the club’s summer reading program that will feature Rays players reading selected stories to children throughout the day.
What it should be - Christopher Walken reading Goodnight Moon, Three Little Pigs and, of course, Lady Gaga's Poker Face.
Would you be more or less inclined to attend the event if my suggestions are approved?
[h/t to Marc Tompkin who has all the deets concerning the Rays]