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James Shields to retire as a Ray on Opening Day, throw first pitch

Big Game James comes home for one last pitch.

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the home opener, on Thursday March 30 at 3:10 PM, former Rays pitcher James Shields will symbolically retire as a Ray and throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch. During the game, James Shields will also visit the “Home Run Club” suite, formerly known as the “Big Game James Club,” reuniting with founding club members.

In 2010, James and Ryane Shields, along with the Rays, donated a suite to begin a special club for foster kids called the “Big Game James Club.” In 2013, the suite was renamed “Home Run Club” following Shields’ trade to the Kansas City Royals.

In partnership with United Concordia Dental, the club continues to offer a sense of stability and belonging to foster children and adoptive families throughout Tampa Bay. More than 30,000 suite tickets have been donated to foster children and families, and Home Run Club events hosted by the Rays have resulted in numerous adoptions for local foster children.

(Note from your EIC: James Shields was my favorite Rays player, so this is pretty cool.)

The Tampa Bay Rays have also announced that the 2023 home opener on Thursday, March 30 against the Detroit Tigers is sold out. This marks the 17th consecutive season the Rays have sold out their home opener, excluding the 2020 season which was played without fans and totally doesn’t count.