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TROPICANA FIELD OPENS TO GREAT HOOPS ACTION, MIXED REVIEWS
Published March 23, 1998
Tropicana Field, which hosted this weekend's NCAA men's south regional and is scheduled to host next year's men's Final Four, received mixed reviews from fans and media this weekend. In Tampa, George Coryell wrote that "problems" remained as the facility opened Friday night and Tampa resident Fred Kurtzman called the facility "disgusting." Kurtzman: "I mean, the seats are still full of dirt." However, Coryell reported that "for all the criticism ... most fans were forgiving" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/21). In Tampa, Ryan & Minai wrote on the facility's "weaknesses:" the "scarcity" of lights on surrounding streets which had fans "nervous" as they left the games; a "lack of staffed ticket windows;" ATMs and pay phones "scattered throughout" the arena, many of which "didn't work;" and a lack of ushers to help fans to their correct seats (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/22). In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin writes that with just eight days remaining before the Devil Rays are due to open their season, the stadium "isn't close to ready." Conlin: "Leaks are everywhere, even in the Ebbets Field-style rotunda that will be the main entrance" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/23). AFTERMATH: Despite the problems, "[n]othing huge" tarnished Tropicana Field's effort to join the list of elite sites for major sports events, "but there were enough irritating nuisances" to demonstrate why it is "not yet" on that list, reports David Rogers of the ST. PETE TIMES. Two power outages delayed yesterday's Duke-KY regional final, one of which lasted four minutes (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/23).