ST. PETERSBURG -- Though he needed to brush up on his fractions, the Rays' Ben Zobrist liked being back at school for a day.
The utility man visited contest winner Ryan Cole and Ponce De Leon Elementary School in Clearwater, Fla., as part of the "Take Zobrist to School" promotion, sponsored by Metro PCS.
"For me, it's just the chance to experience elementary school again," Zobrist said. "To meet somebody like Ryan, and his family and sign autographs, it just brings joy to the class."
Zobrist began the day meeting Cole and his family before traveling through the halls of the school giving high fives to all of the students. An assembly was then held outside where students from Cole's class and the rest of the school greeted him with a personalized dance, deemed the "Zobrist Shuffle."
"I've never had any song named after me like that before," Zobrist said. "I learned it, it was pretty inspiring, I have to say."
The students then asked questions and sang "Happy Birthday" to Zobrist, whose 31st birthday is Saturday. But then it was time to head to the classroom, where Cole's teacher asked Zobrist to help students with their fractions by using baseball stats.
Zobrist concluded the day by fielding more questions from Cole's class and giving away autographed gear. Throughout the day, he stressed how important education was to him growing up.
"I was given the opportunity to go to college, and not just go for a few years, but go and finish my degree," Zobrist said. "For kids to see that there are ballplayers out there that have finished their degree and gotten their education, it's just a big part of encouraging and being a role model for these kids."