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Stadium Big Hit Despite Complaints

By Dave Brady
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 2, 1961; Page A1

When D C Stadium manager Dutch Bergman tackles the list of gripes on his desk this morning it will be like the complaint desk in a department store on the day after Christmas. But it will be a minority report.

The majority of the 36,767, perhaps recalling conditions at Griffith Stadium must have felt they were the affluent society as they settled down in the form fitting theater type head

At the finish, the largest crowd in the city's sports history evacuated in 15 minutes the $24-mililon structure with the roller coaster roof.

You could just about set your pace because of the generous width of the gently sloping ramps.

A half hour after the final gun, the motorists were just about clear of the parking lots and were being funneled on to relatively free-flowing traffic routes

This is not to suggest that everybody got $8 worth of .comfort, that the rest rooms were restful, that there was a seat waiting for everyone with some 13,000 of them being unused.

A schoolteacher was so wrought up she threw a fright into Bill Lally, Redskins ticket director.

She complained vociferously that her party of 8 bought season tickets with the understanding they would be in the shade.

They were not only in the sun, the seats were missing. They were among 351 complaints about seats not installed despite the report that the last of the 50.000 chairs were put in place at 7:10 p.m. Saturday

The same woman became locked in the restroom before yesterday's game.

There was no water in some of the water fountains. Where there was it was warm and flowed feebly.

The hungry fan had to make all kinds of concessions at the concession stands. The hot dogs often were less than tepid because of a power failure that resulted in the cooking-being done in commissaries instead of the refreshment stands. There were long lines at the counters.

Three women had a common complaint: "You tell Mr. (George) Marshall that the rest rooms are terrible . . . no mirror . . . no privacy . . . it s worse than in Paris."

Bergman said the American Seating Co. representative had assured him all stadium seats had been installed.

He said that water pressure was not strong enough because of damage to pipes under the fleld caused by heavy equipment in the rush to get the stadium ready.

A mechanical accident cut off electricity to the concessions stands, he said.

Among the happier spectators was stadium builder Malt McCloskey and his son Tom in Marshall's box.

The McCloskeys flew in from their Philadelphia home with the senior. McCloskey's grandchildren, Mary, 8, and John, 14. Grandpop said he promised his granddaughter that the stadium would be ready for occupancy on her birthday yesterday.

"People who are not in the building business don't understand that when we say we'll have a job done, we will," Matt said "even my wife."

"I built a house for my wife 28 years ago and told her it would be really on December 15. She didn't believe me. Well, we moved in on that date . . . even though there were still 18 painters in the house."

"This stadium is the best in the world," he said. "I was in Rome for the last Olympic Games and saw the new stadium there. It's not as good as this one."

Pete Rozelle, National Football League Commissioner, was accepting congratulations getting the package TV bill passed. He said that he has abandoned until next season his plan to invite President Kennedy to attend a Redskins game.

Wrestling promoter Vince McMahon was duly him pressed by "the little miracle of East Capitol St." and said he plans to rent it.

Gen. Pete Quesada, president of the Nats and chief Stadium tenant, was on hand. So was his attorney Webb Hayes.

Nearly everyone had a kind word for Joe Mooney, the former Griffith Stadium groundkeeper who somehow got the new stadium sod into good condition for yesterday's game.

Charles R. Sullivan, assistant chief of the City's traffic planning and design division, said cars Jammed up Just before game time but the congestion was not nearly as bad as was expected.

Come to think of it you can do quite a bit of sight-seeing from the mezzanine and upper deck levels of the new stadium, the latest stop on the D. C. tourists' circuit.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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