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DEVIL RAYS HOPE ORIOLES AND OTHER AL EAST FOES BOOST GATE
Published May 8, 1998
The Devil Rays "face their biggest test" this weekend when they host the Orioles for a three-game series -- not on the field but "in the stands," according to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN. The Orioles mark the first series of the year against an AL East rival for the Devil Rays, who rank 11th in MLB attendance at 31,605 a game. Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli said attendance has "been a little bit disappointing. I don't know if it's because the kids aren't out of school or what, but we hope that now that we're going to play some of our divisional rivals, it will start to pick up." Schmuck writes that the team's obstacles start "with Tropicana Field." Devil Rays VP/PR Rick Vaughn: "There was a negative connotation to the building. That's something we have to get past" (Baltimore SUN, 5/8). Naimoli said he would give the team a "B" in ticket sales, but added, "We're taking a much more active stance to marketing ourself. Some of our broadcasters were telling listeners it might be a nice idea to take Mom out to see the Orioles and have a nice buffet for Mother's Day" (Kevin Wells, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/8).