Rays bullpen catcher quizzes fans on 'Star Wars' before giving away souvenir

Big League Stew

After opening their doors to the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Tampa Bay Rays were given the same warm welcome by the New York Mets organization.

The Rays were made to feel at home all week as Citi Field played host to their series against the New York Yankees, and before leaving town they expressed their appreciation in several ways.

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One way that caught everyone’s attention took place before Wednesday’s series finale. Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi took time from his preparation to play catch with some fans lined up along the wall in right field before surprising them with a gift.

It’s a scene that’s playing out with more frequency around MLB ballparks. When time allows, players and coaches will start throwing the ball around with younger fans to say thank you and to make them feel like part of the action.

That was Cursi’s goal too. He didn’t care which team the fans were rooting for. It was his way of saying thanks on behalf of himself and the Rays organization. But Cursi added a fun twist to his kind gesture. He gave fans a chance to earn the baseball they were throwing around. All they had to do was guess which Star Wars character he proudly wears on his glove.

If there’s someone in your life that questions your dedication to the Star Wars series, just show them this. You never know when, where or how your fandom will pay off.

By the way, for those guessing at home, it was Chewbacca.

Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi made a new friend in New York. (@CDeNicola13 on Twitter)
Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi made a new friend in New York. (@CDeNicola13 on Twitter)

Cursi has been with the Rays since 1999. His job is to help make sure the team’s pitchers are ready to go when called upon for action. But he also clearly knows the importance of interacting with fans and making them feel important. Some might even argue that’s what he does best, and his actions on Wednesday definitely support that.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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