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Devil Rays Not Happy With Stadium

May 29, 1997|Associated Press

The winter home the Tampa Bay Devil Rays envision for themselves is not the one officials in St. Petersburg, Fla., see themselves providing.

Next year, the American League franchise will become the first team in modern history to hold spring training in the same city in which it plays its regular season games, and officials are hoping to avoid a showdown over proposed improvements for Al Lang Stadium.

Vince Naimoli, Devil Ray managing general partner, would like to nearly double the seating capacity of the downtown waterfront facility. He also wants to build suites, add a grassy knoll seating area and upgrade the scoreboard and concession areas.

Mayor David Fischer thinks the 6,680-seat stadium, the long-time spring training home for the St. Louis Cardinals, doesn't need major renovations.

"My feeling is the city basically has spent all the money it's going to spend on capital improvements for baseball," he said.

If the city's stance forces the Devil Rays to pursue training sites elsewhere, then so be it, the mayor said.


Tony Clark was scratched from the Detroit Tiger lineup shortly before Wednesday night's game with Baltimore after being struck by his own batted ball.

During a pregame "soft toss" drill, Clark hit a ball that struck the frame of the protective screen. The ball ricocheted back and struck him in the nose.

X-rays at nearby Henry Ford Hospital showed no break, but Clark was replaced at first base by Phil Nevin as a precaution. Clark's condition was listed as day-to-day.

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