Remember Zachary Sharples, the Florida 12-year-old who was suspended by his middle school for showing up with a Rayhawk haircut? As you may have guessed he's now a minor celebrity, having been invited onto the field at Tropicana to meet Rays players on Saturday, and appearing on ESPN's First Take this morning. Quite a whirlwind journey, and he didn't even have to fall out of the stands. Rays' DH Jonny Gomes read about Zachary and arranged for him to meet most of the Rays players on Saturday, including Carlos Pena, who offered to write his principal a note. Zachary also got an autographed bat.
"The kid got punished for being a Rays fan," Gomes said. "What's wrong with that? Hopefully, we've got a Rays fan for life — a Jonny Gomes fan for life. To make the kid's day — maybe make the kid's year — is awesome."
So the pattern is clear, I think: Befriend a kid, advance straight to World Series. Expect Joe Torre to adopt three babies and, for good measure, a stray puppy, just before game time today. ESPN Takes Notice Of Bay Area Boys' Rayhawk [Tampa Bay Online]