St. Petersburg, Florida - The Florida Department of Agriculture wants to bring attention to child nutrition with the help of talent and coaches from Bay Area baseball.
"The message is a great message and I think the messenger that they've chosen is a wonderful messenger," said St. Petersburg City Council Member Charlie Gerdes.
According to a state buy document, the Florida Department of Agriculture would pay the team about $160,000 with a cap on $194,000 to help teach children about better nutrition.
The team would use professional baseball talent, the team mascot and other representatives to help promote food nutrition and wellness among children and families within the Bay Area.
But the Rays team is not the only one getting a healthy dose of government cash from the state organization, which exists on tax dollars.
"Why should the taxpayers pay for this? That's where the money is coming from," said critic and St. Petersburg resident Jack Liacalone.
Miami Dolphins Limited was paid $135,724.60 for its partnership in the "Eat to Compete" initiative to promote food, nutrition and wellness, while the Miami heat was offered $129,999 for similar services.
According to document, the Jacksonville Jaguars received $133,917 for contributions to a similar partnership.
But couldn't the Ag department just give the money to local schools instead of private business?
A Florida Department of Agriculture spokesperson told 10 News that they have a budget of $10 million to spend on educating children to eat better, and what is being spent now to hire sport celebrities to spread the message is only a fraction.
And- while a half million dollars is a lot of money to use, not everyone thinks it's a bad thing.
"With the way kids eat nowadays; they got too much junk food, the vending machines in the schools- I definitely think are wrong," said St. Petersburg resident Jeff Gbur.