Rays Opening Day: Team Florida youth baseball team fundraises outside Fergs

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Ferg’s Sports Bar has been in St. Petersburg for more than two decades.

And they’ve been across the street from Tropicana Field since before the Rays called it home.

It’s a place to celebrate victories, drown the sorrows of defeat and find community.

In addition to the throngs of people inside Ferg’s on Opening Day, there was also lots of action outside.

Children and adults in bright orange baseball jerseys milled about on the corner of Central Avenue and 13 Street South.

They held signs and batting helmets filled with bills, mostly ones and fives.

"We are raising money to go to the international World Series in California," explained 8-year-old Hampton Johnson.

The children are players on Tampa Bay area-based Team Florida, ranked number one in the nation for 8-year-olds in the United States Specialty Sports Association.

This travel team and their families devote thousands of dollars, hours and miles to baseball.

“It’s just the sport I’ve loved, from the beginning," explained Johnson.

The parents, meanwhile, say there’s a lot more to it than baseball.

"It’s like a family," said mom Tammi Dial.

Similarly, the funds Team Florida raised today are for more than just to help subsidize a trip. They’re meant to help subsidize their dreams.

“I think [baseball] is a great experience for my life,” said Zackary Dial, Tammi’s son.

Bay News 9 – local-news

April 3, 2016 |

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