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Fix the PA system

I have made a couple trips to Tropicana Field, and have found it to be a top-notch facility in terms of lighting, features, service, and accessibility. I never thought I could enjoy baseball in a dome, but the team is exciting and the game always has the feel of an Event.

The acoustics, on the other hand, are positively dreadful. Pre-game announcements are consistently muddled with the reverberation from the speakers on the opposite side of the field. Often, it sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher in the old Peanuts cartoons. For all the advance time that designers and administrators knew baseball would be coming, one would think that some time would be put in to adjusting the volume levels on speaker banks and adding various sound-absorbing materials to reduce the excessive echoing in key parts of the facility.

Once the game starts and normal batting and pitching calls are made, the problem is not nearly as bad, but pre-game announcements are nearly impossible to distinguish between the constant echoing and standard crowd bustle. I am even getting used to $10 parking (yuck), but that sound system is nowhere close major league standards.

Paul W. Stockinger, Tampa

Thumbs up to Tropicana

I had the opportunity to attend my first Devil Rays game at Tropicana Field on April 24. We sat in rightfield on the first level and had an excellent view of the field. The employees were polite and helpful. We (my son and I) were impressed with the beauty of the field and the centerfield screen with all its information displayed between innings. We look forward to attending more games in this beautiful facility.

Bob Kuslansky, Largo

Retiring No. 42 rings hollow

After the events of April 14, one has seen that tokenism is alive and well at Tropicana Field. There might be room to retire Jackie Robinson's No. 42 jersey, but there is not any space to hang the jersey of an equally deserving black athlete.

Larry Doby is a part of baseball's history, but Vince Naimoli and the Devil Rays organization are trying to deny his place in it. This newly elected Hall of Famer is a living example of the struggle of a black athlete succeeding in a time when many people wanted him to fail. The fact that he was the first black to play in the league the Devil Rays are now a member of makes his No. 14 jersey as important as Robinson's.

The retirement of Robinson's number was not an attempt to honor the accomplishments of a tremendous individual. It was more of a blatant maneuver to get more blacks to attend Devil Rays games. Jackie Robinson thought his story was much less about one man but more about an entire race. Too bad Naimoli was too greedy and short-sighted to understand the real importance of Jackie Robinson and the men who followed in his footsteps.

Calvin W. Boaz

Clearwater

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