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MLB SEASON OPENER TEAM NEWS & NOTES: THE DEVILS' ADVOCATES
Published March 31, 1998
In celebrating the inaugural game of the Devil Rays today at Tropicana Field, this morning's ST. PETE TIMES featured a special pullout section called, "Devil Rays: The First Game." Among the features is a Q&A with the team's Managing Partner Vince Naimoli, who said the team is in "good shape financially." Naimoli: "From our original 1992 pro formas which we gave out to the investors, we're only about 5 percent off." On ticket sales: "The history of our area says it's a walk-up (ticket purchase) market. We've sold somewhere over 50 percent of our available tickets, which is more than history told us because walk up crowds are some 70-80 percent of sales" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/31). Ted Williams, Al Lopez, Stan Musial and Monte Irvine will throw out today's first pitch (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/31). RANGERS: The Rangers "will place a strong imaging focus on star players like Juan Gonzalez and Rusty Greer through TV spots highlighting their talents, sense of humor and community involvement." A new 30-second spot, called "Juan's Porch," shows Gonzalez swinging at a newspaper tossed by a newsboy as a signal "he is anxious for the season to begin" (ADWEEK, 3/30 issue). Rangers President Tom Schieffer said the team is targeting to top 3 million in total attendance, although pre-season ticket and licensed merchandise sales are down (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/31). REDS: In Cincinnati, Todd Archer wrote that the city, "perhaps more than any other city, has been affected by the strike the most." Last season, the team drew only one crowd of 30,000-plus in their final 16 home games. For '98, they have sold about 13,000 season tickets. Reds Marketing Consultant Cal Levy: "Little by little it's getting better. We're working on developing the right things and checking out what other teams and seeing if they would work here" (CINCINNATI POST, 3/30). The Reds have sold out today's home opener against the Padres (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/31). TICKET NEWS: The Brewers have sold over a million tickets this season, the earliest date the club has reached that plateau (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/31)....The Mariners have sold a team-record 18,516 season tickets (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/30)....A's President Sandy Alderson said there are "plenty of seats left" for the team's home opener Wednesday against the Red Sox (S.F. EXAMINER, 3/30)....The Cubs have sold 39,000 tickets for their home opener Friday against the Expos, with only standing room remaining. But the White Sox have sold "only around" 20,000 tickets for their home opener Monday versus the Rangers (CHICAGO SUN- TIMES, 3/31)....The Mets will have over 50,000 on-hand today for their season opener against the Phillies at Shea. In N.Y., Jason Diamos writes that despite the team being 20% ahead of last year's ticket sales when the team drew over 1.7 million in 78 dates, the Mets "are nowhere near the attraction they were a decade ago" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/31).