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Promoter Mike Veeck leaves Devil Rays
Posted: Tuesday May 25, 1999 09:07 PM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Veeck, who developed one of the most ambitious promotions schedules in baseball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, resigned Tuesday for personal reasons the team said were related to the health of his 7-year-old daughter.
Veeck, son of Hall of Famer Bill Veeck, will continue to live in St. Petersburg and serve as a marketing consultant to the Devil Rays, who have experienced a sharp decline in attendance despite a zany advertising and giveaway campaign he dubbed "Off The Wall."
Through 22 home dates prior to Tuesday's night game against the Texas Rangers, the Devil Rays were averaging announced crowds of 21,032 -- down from the 30,939 per game the team drew during its inaugural season in 1998.
Veeck's resignation will give him more time to be with his daughter, Rebecca, who is suffering from retinitis pigmentosa.
"We appreciate the creative energy that Mike has brought to the organization and we are pleased that he will continue to contribute his ideas and represent the team in the community," Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli said. "At the same time we admire his devotion to his family and wish the best for Rebecca."
Veeck scheduled special events or giveaways on 70 of 81 home dates for the Devil Rays, including Lawyer Appreciation Night where attorneys will be charged double and billed by the third of an inning.
Tuesday night, for example, was Christmas in May Night at Tropicana Field. Christmas music blared from stadium speakers before the game and between innings.John Browne, the club's director of corporate sales since April 1997, was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing and will take over Veeck's duties.
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