Rays return to Tropicana Field for first homestand since All-Star break

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays return to Tropicana Field this weekend for the first time since the All-Star break. The Rays will host the Boston Red Sox (July 25-27), Milwaukee Brewers (July 28-30) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (August 1-3) in a nine-game homestand.

The Rays and Red Sox open their series on Friday, July 25 at 7:10 p.m. Fans can purchase a Tampa Bay Times Ticket Tandem to receive a special commemorative Don Zimmer Snow Globe, which was scheduled prior to his passing. All proceeds from the Don Zimmer Snow Globe will benefit the Rays Baseball Founda­tion. For Ticket Tandem details, visit raysbaseball.com/tandems.

Prior to Saturday's 7:10 p.m. game, the first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a Rays Tote Bag, presented by MLB Network. Saturday is also "Chomp at the Trop" Night for alumni from the University of Florida. Former UF and NFL alum, Brad Culpepper, is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Sunday's 1:40 p.m. game against the Red Sox is also Tampa Bay Times Family Fun Day. When gates open at 11:40 a.m., kids 14 and under will receive a Chris Archer Christmas Stocking, presented by SunTrust Bank, while supplies last. The stocking giveaway also coincides with Christmas in July at the Trop. The Imagination Movers will continue the Rays Summer Concert Series with a postgame 'Christmas In July' performance, presented by Ruth Eckerd Hall.

The Emmy-winning Imagination Movers will perform many crowd-pleasing songs from their hit Disney Junior television series as well as classic holiday tunes that will transform Tropicana Field into a virtual winter wonderland.

For more than a decade, the Imagination Movers-Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott Smith-have entertained parents and children alike with their sense of humor and high-energy musical style that evokes the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they sing about healthy snacks, playing catch and conquering childhood fears of bedtime. "Our goal is to make many kids' first concert experience also one of their parents' most memorable experiences," says Smith. "We hope everyone leaves needing a nap!"

Sunday's pregame presentation will also include a special Thanksmas ceremony. Rays Manager Joe Maddon and his wife, Jaye, will present a check signifying Thanksmas proceeds from both 2013 and 2014 to representatives from area homeless shelters. Thanksmas was designed by Maddon in 2006 to raise awareness for the issues faced by the homeless in Tampa Bay. Since its inception, Thanksmas has served over 7,000 of the Tampa Bay area's most needy citizens with hot meals, gifts and donations. Additionally, during the Rays-Red Sox games on July 26 and July 27, fans are encouraged to bring toiletry donations to collection areas inside of Gates 1 and 5 as part of 'Thanksmas In July Drive' hosted by the Rays Wives. For more information, visit raysbaseball.com/thanksmasdrive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Derrick Brooks, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday's game.

The Rays and Brewers open their three-game set on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. The two squads last faced off in Milwaukee in 2011 with the Rays taking two of three games but they have not played at Tropicana Field since the 2005 season. The Rays also went 2-1 in that series.

Tuesday night's contest is also set for a 7:10 p.m. start and Wednesday's series finale is scheduled for a 12:10 p.m. matinee.

After a day off on Thursday, the Rays will be back in action on Friday as the Angels come to town for a three-game weekend set. Friday night's 7:10 p.m. contest will provide fans with another Tampa Bay Times Ticket Tandem opportunity. With the purchase of a Ticket Tandem on August 1, fans will receive a ticket to the game in addition to a pair of limited edition Joe Maddon Wine Glasses.

When gates open for Saturday's 7:10 p.m. contest-also USF Night-the first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head, presented by GTE Financial.

Also on Saturday, Rays relief pitcher Grant Balfour, his wife Angie and the Rays Wives are teaming up with Smile Train to help children with cleft lips and palates smile for the first time. Fans can join the Rays Wives as they go 'Miles for Smiles' by riding bikes out on the Porch throughout the game. Grant Balfour will sign autographs on The Porch from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for a donation. Autographs are limited to the first 100 donators. Visit smiletrain.org/milesforsmiles for more information.

Prior to Sunday's 1:40 p.m. homestand finale, kids 14 and under will receive a Wil Myers Bike Horn presented by Crown Automotive Group, while supplies last.

Sunday is also Florida State University Day at Tropicana Field, with FSU's legendary former head football coach Bobby Bowden tossing out the ceremonial first pitch.

For information on additional special event nights this homestand and to purchase a special event ticket, visit raysbaseball.com/specialevents.

TAMPA BAY TIMES FAMILY FUN DAY -Every Rays Sunday home game will feature free parking for cars with four or more passengers and a variety of free activities for kids on the concourse, courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times. Postgame on Sunday, August 3 will also feature Kids Run the Bases and the DJ Kitty Kids Party.

TICKETS -Tickets for Rays 2014 regular season home games are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Rays Tampa Store (400 N. Tampa St.) and the Gate 1 Tropicana Field Box Office, as well as over the phone at 888-FAN-RAYS and 1-800-745-3000, or online at raysbaseball.com.

GATES OPEN -Monday through Thursday, 1½ hours prior to game time; Friday through Sunday, two hours prior to game time.

Key Dates





July 25 vs. BOS

7:10 p.m.

· Don Zimmer Snow Globe

Tampa Bay Times

With Ticket Tandem purchase

July 26 vs. BOS

7:10 p.m.

· Rays Tote Bag

MLB Network

First 20,000 fans

July 27 vs. BOS

1:40 p.m.

· Chris Archer Christmas Stocking

SunTrust Bank

Kids 14 & under, while supplies last



· Imagination Movers Postgame Concert

Ruth Eckerd Hall

Free with purchase of game ticket

Aug 1 vs. LAA

7:10 p.m.

· Joe Maddon Wine Glasses (set of 2)

Tampa Bay Times

With Ticket Tandem purchase

Aug 2 vs. LAA

7:10 p.m.

· Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head

GTE Financial

First 20,000 fans

Aug 3 vs. LAA

1:40 p.m.

· Wil Myers Bike Horn

Crown Automotive Group

Kids 14 & under, while supplies last