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RAYS EXTRA: FANS / COMMENTARY

We asked fans at a recent game at Tropicana Field if the Devil Rays should re-sign Wade Boggs in 2000 or make room for one of their younger players at third base. The answers were almost unanimous ...

"That's a tough one because I like all those players (Bobby Smith, Herbert Perry, Scott McClain). I think they should

sign Wade and use him in pinch-hit situations or as designated hitter once in a while. I'd like to see the younger players in there, but Wade brings in fans."

Karen Kandefer, 46

Sarasota

"I say sign him, even though I'm a Herbert Perry fan because he went to the University of Florida and played both baseball and football there. I'm not sure they have anybody right now who'd do any better than Wade. It's the same way with (Fred) McGriff. Do you keep him or give first base to somebody who's younger? I like both those guys. I think we should sign both of them again."

Dallas Montgomery, 59

Lakeland

"I think they should keep him for a couple of reasons. He's a local guy, he's done a lot for baseball, and some of the younger guys who are coming up are still going to have their opportunities. When he can't play anymore, and he'll know when the time is right, he'll bow out himself rather than somebody telling him it's time to go out."

Bill Emma, 52

Sarasota

"I think they should re-sign him. I don't know why they should not re-sign him. I think he's still real good. He's better than all the other third basemen they've got. They could switch off with Bobby Smith and Wade Boggs like they did this year, only more.

Jamie Tutko, 10

Tampa

"They should sign him and play Bobby, too. I don't see why they can't play both of them. (Smith) is going to get his experience and Wade obviously is going to retire sometime. Let him decide what he wants to do."

Dawn Satcher, 30

St. Petersburg

"If they can make a good trade they ought to let him go. His (pursuit of) 3,000 hits is over. For the sake of the team I think they'd be better off trading him and giving one of the younger guys a chance."

Leroy Sullivan, 66

Tampa

"Sign him again. Absolutely. He's a great asset to the team, he pulls the fans in and it's a joy to watch him play. I'm sure you're hurting yourself a little bit as far as development goes, but it's a trade-off. I'm originally from Baltimore, and (Cal) Ripken is still playing."

Dave Kuchinksi, 55

Bradenton

"They ought to keep him for another year. I think he's a good influence on the younger ballplayers, and he can still play third base as well as any of them. He's not afraid to dig in the dirt. He's a hustler the way Pete Rose was, one of his idols besides Ted Williams. A few other players _ if you pressed me I'd tell you who _ they should let them go. But I keep Wade."

Phil Gannon, 68

Bradenton

"I'd say sign Wade Boggs again, especially after what he did the other night (getting his 3,000th hit). He's playing really well this year. I guess you really should develop some of the younger players, but when the older players are playing as well as they are it's kind of sad to see them go."

Joan McDonald, 57

St. Augustine

"Re-sign him. For openers, I'm from Boston, and I just turned 43, so I feel for the man. No, really, I think we still need these guys that have been around for a while to help the young guys out. And look what he did (Tuesday night, when he pitched 1 innings). That's impressive."

Terry McLean, 43

Largo

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