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Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld among Tampa Bay Rays to film It Gets Better video

Sam Fuld

A meeting at a wine tasting between a St. Petersburg gay business owner and Tampa Bay Rays players Johnny Damon and Sam Fuld led to the team agreeing to film a video for the It Gets Better Project to fight teen bullying.

Manager Joe Maddon and players Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld, B. J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez will record a public service message called "It Gets Better" before the Aug. 23 Rays-Tigers game at Tropicana Field. ...

Brian Longstreth, who owns a gay-oriented B&B in St. Petersburg, and St. Pete Pride director Chris Rudisill got the ball rolling with the Rays last month.

Longstreth ran into Damon and Fuld at a wine tasting and broached the idea. Fuld had already seen the Chicago Cubs video and "was very enthusiastic,'' Longstreth said. Damon also offered to take part. St. Pete Pride had collaborated in the past with the Rays on special events and got quick cooperation on the video, Rudisill said.

The Rays looked at other clubs' videos and "felt they really present an impactful message against bullying,'' Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said Tuesday.

The Rays will become the third team in the American League East to do a video, joining the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Still missing are the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. The Yankees' absence is an embarrassment given the large gay population in the city and the team's preeminence in baseball.

Along with the Orioles and Red Sox, the Giants and Cubs have already produced videos. The Nationals, Mariners, Twins and Phillies join the Rays in announcing they will do videos.

Hat tip to Taylor.