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OustNaimoli.com

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Below is my Q&A with Doug Edwards from the web site

www.OustNaimoli.com

1) Tell me about  the OustNaimoli and how you got started with this site?

Well OustNaimoli.com got started about a month ago when my brother
(Dan Edwards), myself (Doug Edwards) and a mutual  friend (Dustin
Staggers) started randomly talking about ways that we as fans could
"take action" and voice our opinion  about the way the Devil Rays are
being run.  We took inspiration from fireronzook.com and thus,
OustNaimoli.com was born.


2) Do you think baseball has any leverage to remove Vince from
running the club?

I think so.  The commissioner's office has been given the unique
power to take any actions and impose any sanctions  that are "in the
best interest of the sport."  This "best interest" authority which has
been mandated to Selig has been  accepted without any questions asked
in the past to determine fines, punishments, etc and, even with the
MLB's collective  bargaining agreement, courts have been reluctant to
challenge the commissioner's authority.  In my opinion, this "best
interest" authority can extend to decisions regarding ownership
issues.  The commissioner is respected as the ultimate  interpreter of
the "rights" and "wrongs" of the game and if he feels that Naimoli's
actions (or inactions) as owner are  handcuffing the franchise's
ability to compete with other teams, then I certainly feel he can act
in the "best interest"  of the sport and solve the problem.  People
will point out that the "best interest" clause is generally only used
in cases  where the sport is being embarrassed (drug use suspensions,
Pete Rose's gambling ban, etc..), but there is no explicit  rules in
the authority Selig has been given (I don't think), so I don't think
it's unreasonable for for him to step in and  take action before
Naimoli's ownership truly does embarrass the sport (if it hasn't
already).


3) Can you tell the details about the fan walkout on May 28. What are
your expectations to consider it a success?

The full details of the walkout can be found here - link
but, for those who haven't heard, the  basic idea is that during the
7th inning, Rays fans who feel the same way we do regarding Naimoli
will stand up from their  seats and walk out for half an inning.

I seriously doubt that this one event will cause Naimoli to step down
or even to change his ways, so the success of the  walkout will be
dependent upon the amount of media attention it receives.  I think the
more publicity the walkout  receives, the better.  For the most part,
in the national media the Devil Rays have been the joke of baseball.
But its  been because the team has been doing so bad.  If we can
change the focus of that negativity towards Naimoli's ownership,  then
I think we've done out job.  Locally, Rays fans and Tampa
area-residents know about the troubles we've had with  Naimoli, but
its time now for the rest of the nation to see why the team has
remained as stagnant as it has for the past 8  seasons.


4) What in particular are your bones to pick with Vince? Is it the
racoon incident, the brush he had with the police department where he
exclaimed 'Do you Know who I am', the confontation with the MLB scout,
the lack of groceries for Lou,  the money in Vince's pocket?

I think its a bit of all of that.  For me, personally, it's a case
of him not making a concerted effort to improve the  team.  I know the
public PR problems irk some people, but I could live with that if he
were an owner who invested in his  team and cared about winning
championships.  George Steinbrenner doesn't have the greatest public
image, but he couldn't  care less as long as his team is winning.
Naimoli doesn't seem to care about his image or winning.  That's not a
good  combination.  He runs one of the most "profitable" franchises in
baseball (according to a recent Forbes article), but he's  no
re-investing any of those profits into the team.  That bothers me.


5) Were you in the Tampa area durring its attempt to land a major
league team. The Giants and White Sox just about moved  here before
getting better deals to stay in their exiting cities. It was almost
like Tampa for a while was being used by  these teams to get better
deals. What's your take?

Yes, I lived in Tampa during those trying times and you are right -
the city did feel like it was being used as a  bargaining chip.  Both
of those situations were really unfortunate, but I think in the end
most true baseball fans would  rather have the Rays (a team we can
call "our own") rather than a relocated team, like the Sox or Giants.

As a side note, I think it's funny that back in 1992 when the Giants
fiasco took place, it was Naimoli's entrance onto the  Tampa scene.
He had a "contract" supposedly signed, sealed and delivered to bring
the the team to Tampa.  That was really  a harbinger of things to come
- the first of many guarantees that he hasn't been able to fulfill.
Now, I know that  Naimoli is not to blame for the Giants deal falling
apart, but I still think its funny that that particular fiasco was how
the Tampa-area was introduced to Naimoli.  And now, 13 years later,
how many more fiascos has the city been through with Vince?


6) Do you have any other events planned or ideas to support the cause?

We have some marketing & publicity plans in the works, but we are
not allowed to unveil them yet.  Keep your eyes open  in the coming
days, though.


7) Tell me what you think about the product on the field. Can this
team turn it around with the kids like some other small  market teams
have?

This has been the most difficulat issue in planning the walkout.
In no way did we want to offend or embarrass the  players on the
field.  Personally, I think this team has a lot of potential, but I
would be lying if I said they can  compete for the AL East division
championship.  There are some really talented young players on this
year's squad, but  they are facing an uphill battle.  In my opinion it
boils down to the pitching staff.  If the Rays had 1 or 2 front-line
starters, this would be a completely different looking team.  When you
don't have a true #1 starter in your rotation,  though, it's tough to
compete with the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, etc.  Again,
I think this squad could  surprise some people and there is a really
solid group of core players to build around, but it would take a
miracle to  find this team in the wildcard hunt come September.


8) What has been the response of the people to your site, what are the
fans telling you that they would like to see happen with the ownership?

It's been overwhelmingly positive. We've had nearly 1000 people sign
the petition supporting the OustNaimoli movement, so that tells me that there
are some really passionate Rays fans out there. We've received visitors to the site
from across the U.S. and I've had numerous e-mails of support and a lot of
people looking forward to the May 28th walkout. As long as there are fans out there
willing to take a stand and do whatever it takes to oust Naimoli, we'll continue to
"fight the good fight"


9)Anything else you want to tell me....

I've typed too much as it is.  I'll just tell everyone to visit
http://www.oustnaimoli.com.  We'll see you May 28th -  Go Rays!