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Rays retain high TV exposure

MARC TOPKIN
Published February 3, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - The Devil Rays expect to put on a better show this season.

And they want to give fans plenty of chances to see it.

The Rays announced plans Monday to televise 140 games, matching last season's total as the most in team history.

Games again will be split between two outlets: 65 over the air on Pax-TV and 75 via cable on Fox Sports Net.

It is possible more games will be shown, with ESPN considering coverage of the March 30-31 season-opening series in Japan.

In the bay area, Pax is available over the air as Ch. 66 and on most cable systems as Ch. 17. The games will be shown on Pax affiliates in Jacksonville and Orlando.

Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane return to the broadcast booth for their seventh season. Todd Kalas returns as host of Rays on Deck, the cable pregame show.

Also, the team's winter caravan continues today with manager Lou Piniella the featured speaker at the Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the downtown Hyatt.

Other stops today: MacDill Air Force Base at 7:15 a.m., the Shriner's Hospital for Children at 2 p.m. and a Starlight Dinner Cruise at 5:30 p.m. Scheduled to be on the cruise are coaches Lee Elia and Billy Hatcher and players Rob Bell, Lance Carter, Seth McClung, Damian Rolls and Jared Sandberg.

Other stops this week:

Wednesday: 11 a.m., Pinellas County multichambers luncheon, featuring Piniella, Pinellas Expo Center; 2 p.m., St. Anthony's Hospital, St. Petersburg.

Thursday: Noon, Sarasota/Manatee chambers luncheon, featuring Piniella, Lakewood Ranch Country Club, Bradenton.

Friday: 1 p.m., Holy Trinity Greek Festival, 409 S Old Coachman Road, Clearwater; 4:30 p.m., Brandon Boys & Girls club; 7:30-8:30 p.m., Florida State Fair.

Saturday: 10 a.m.-noon, Tampa RBI, Belmont Heights and West Tampa Little Leagues, at Belmont Heights; 1:30-2:30 p.m., WestShore Plaza autograph signing; 6-8 p.m. Venice High home run derby/fundraiser.

Sunday: 1 p.m., Youth coaches clinic, Tropicana Field.

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