Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Team targets Orlando fan base
The Devil Rays formally announced their partnership with Disney on Thursday to play a three-game regular-season series May 15-17 at its Wide World of Sports complex against the Rangers.
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published December 15, 2006
[Associated Press/Walt Disney World]
Rays players Scott Kazmir, left, and Jorge Cantu ride Big Thunder Mountin Railroad at the Magic Kingdom theme park. The team will play three games at the Wide World of Sports Complex.
LAKE BUENA VISTA - The Devil Rays formally announced their partnership with Disney on Thursday to play a three-game regular-season series May 15-17 at its Wide World of Sports complex against the Rangers.
The Rays hope that by playing at the Ballpark in the Orlando area, they will take another important step toward becoming a regional team.
"This event is already a success for us," Rays president Matt Silverman said, "because we're already starting to generate interest in Rays baseball throughout Central Florida. Attendance is an obvious barometer of success, but this is just one of many efforts we'll continue to do to expand our fan base."
Still, there are questions about relocating a regular-season series 95 miles away in the middle of the season:
Is it a done deal?
The series is subject to the approval of the St. Petersburg City Council, which will vote Thursday, but the Rays believe the Council will support the series because it ideally will bring more fans to St. Petersburg.
Could this be the precursor to relocation?
The Rays say the sole purpose is to enlarge the fan base. Silverman thanked St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker for backing the effort and helping the Rays become a "regional powerhouse. We are proud to call St. Petersburg our home," Silverman said. "And we expect the success we achieve in extending our fan base will benefit St. Petersburg by increasing the city's profile and bringing thousands of new visitors from around the region to Tropicana Field."
Why is Orlando important?
The Rays want to expand their fan base every way possible. The spring training move to Port Charlotte in 2009 embeds them in the south, and they've talked about efforts north into Ocala and Gainesville, but commanding Orlando, the 20th largest media market in the country, is instrumental in their regional efforts. The Rays haven't had much presence in Orlando. That's changing, albeit slowly. Bright House cable is scheduled to air 67 games this season in the Orlando area, up from 25 last season.
"Frankly, the only way that's going to change is if people really care enough to say, 'Hey these games are in Orlando. This is my hometown team,' " Michael Kalt, Rays senior vice president of development and business affairs, said. "At the end of the day, if there's no one beating the drum saying, 'We want these games on cable,' it just makes it less likely it will happen."
What if I'm a season-ticket holder?
Silverman said the Rays will send letters to season-ticket holders next week, offering rebates or other compensation if they prefer not to attend the games at Disney. "It could be food or beverage vouchers, or it could be tickets to additional games," Silverman said.
What does the Ballpark hold?
It seats 9,500, but temporary stands can be placed behind the rightfield fence and down the leftfield line to hold up to 14,000.
What do the players think?
It's one of the top spring training facilities in baseball, but it's not about the stadium. "If we get a good fan base from it, that's all that matters," said second baseman Jorge Cantu, who played for the Double-A Orlando Rays in 2001, '02 and part of the '03 season. "We're here to advertise what kind of team we have in Tampa."
Why the Rangers?
The Rays drew an average of just 8,240 fans for the six home games against the Rangers last season at the Trop, so the small ballpark won't hinder their attendance. The Rays were looking for an early season nonprime weekday opponent. The Rangers have played on neutral sites in Puerto Rice twice, and like the opportunity to organize ticket packages to tourist-friendly Orlando.
Are the Rays going to do this every year?
Ideally, the team would like to get to a point where attendance is high enough that it would be losing too much money putting a series in a facility that can only hold 14,000. "We're going to take this one year at a time," Kalt said. "We'll see how it goes."
How do I get tickets?
They go on sale Feb. 17. Check disneyworldsports.com for updates.