For 12 consecutive years, the Tampa Bay Rays have partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County to host the BaseBALL Dinner & Auction at Charlotte Sports Park during Spring Training. Each year, the Rays coaching staff and several Rays players attend the event, raising over $70,000 annually for the Boys & Girls Clubs. With 5 locations across Charlotte County, the Boys & Girls Clubs serve over 500 kids annually, improving the quality of young people's lives, providing hope and opportunity. For more information regarding BaseBALL 2020, visit bgcofcc.org.
A fixture in Charlotte County since 2009, the Rays are proud to call Charlotte Sports Park their Spring Training home. The Rays involvement in the Charlotte County community goes well beyond baseball and Spring Training. Our year-round community initiatives support youth activities, charitable causes and local events.
BaseBALL Dinner & Auction
Moffit Spring Swing
The Moffitt Cancer Center "Spring Swing" visits Charlotte Sports Park annually for a Rays Spring Training game. The Spring Swing® Sun Safety Tour is a partnership between Moffitt Cancer Center and the Tampa Bay Rays, offering free skin cancer screenings at specified baseball spring training venues throughout the state of Florida. Screeners look for early signs of skin cancer while promoting sun safety, skin cancer awareness and education with help from Moffitt's Mole Patrol® team. In the 12 years of the Spring Swing program, 4,754 baseball fans have received a free screening. Our skin cancer experts have detected 4,865 suspected cancerous lesions, including 26 suspected melanomas, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Rays & Charlotte County Schools
Starting in 2018 the Rays and USA Baseball partnered with the Charlotte County School district to bring the Fun at Bat program to all 10 elementary schools in Charlotte County. This program provides standards-based lesson plans for grades K thru 5 and provides safe, modified baseball equipment for school's use both indoors and outdoors. It involves a reading component focused on character development and program materials available in English and Spanish. Best of all it is provided at no cost to over 3,000 elementary students in Charlotte County schools.
Rays Spring Training & Charitable Causes
The Rays annually contribute and partner with several Charlotte County non-profit community agencies. Together with the United Way of Charlotte County, Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity and the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, the Rays are committed to improving the overall quality of life for local residents.
Rays Wives Charity Softball Game
During the Spring Training season, the Rays Wives have taken on the Minnesota Twins Wives in a charity softball game. The series is currently tied at 1-1, having raised over $31,500 total for the benefiting charities since 2018. The wives charity softball game returns to Charlotte Sports Park on March 1, 2020.
Reading with the Rays
The Rays and Suncoast Credit Union have partnered for 12 seasons of Reading with the Rays, an incentive-based reading program that encourages children to avoid summer learning loss by reading during the summer months. Participating libraries track students' progress and award prizes for reaching certain goals, including two free tickets to a Rays game. For the first time in 2019, the Rays offered Charlotte County schools a winter break Reading with the Rays program, including free tickets to a 2020 Spring Training game as the prize for completion of the program. Since the program's inception, over 300,000 children across the nine Tampa Bay area counties, including Charlotte County, have participated in Reading with the Rays.
In 2019 the Rays partnered with Charlotte County schools to provide a Winter Reading Program. This is a modified, winter break version of the Reading with the Rays program highlighted above. The program will enable local school children that qualify the opportunity to attend a Rays Spring Training game with a parent or guardian.