ST. PETERSBURG — Fans who missed the chance to book an autograph in advance with the Tampa Bay Rays lineup Saturday will still find plenty to do at the Rays’ annual Fan Fest, and most of it is free.
A limited number of spots to get player autographs offered in advance online this year sold out by Thursday afternoon, according to the Rays’ website.
Players are prepping for the season in Port Charlotte, but they will take a break from spring training this weekend for their yearly day with the fans from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Tropicana Field.
The goal is to get fans, young and old, out on the field, hanging out with players, practicing their swing or enjoying a new variation of manager Joe’s Maddon’s famed Thanksmas lunch.
Parking and admission are free.
Here’s what’s happening Saturday:
If you didn’t book online, there will be more than 25 former major leaguers signing free autographs in the stadium.
The stadium will have a pitching booth and batting cages.
Coaches will offer free clinics for kids on hitting, pitching and fielding.
Ask a Rays player to call a friend: Chris Archer, Grant Balfour, Alex Cobb and Ben Zobrist will participate in Phone-A-Friend.
Kids can run the bases, try out their fastball in the speed pitch booth or join a game of Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby.
Players also will read to groups of kids. Rays mascot Raymond and musical mascot DJ Kitty will make appearances.
Lunch with Maddon
Fans can buy tickets online for a seat at manager Joe Maddon’s table for wine and hors d’oeuvres based on his Thanksmas meal, and talk with coaches, broadcasters and alumni players inside the Ted Williams Museum.
For information, go to www .raysbaseball.com/fanfest, call 1-888-FAN-RAYS, or follow @RaysBaseball on Twitter, where Fan Fest happenings will be tweeted throughout the day Saturday.