Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rays players call out fans...right or wrong?

Tropicana Field in August /Courtesy: Me
By now, most of you have read about the Tweet from Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, calling out his teams fans for not showing up in the stretch drive. Quoteth Price "Had a chance to clinch post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands...embarrassing". He later said "If I offended anyone I apologize I did not think it was gonna turn into this..."

That wasn't all. All-Star 3rd baseman Evan Longoria tacked on some more, saying in post game comments that "You'd pretty much like to think that a team in a playoff hunt, with an opportunity to clinch, that you could get 30,000 in here to cheer you on". He went on to ask how to get people to come see them play.

More on the issue from TBO.com's Tony Fabrizio RIGHT HERE

We think the guys make valid points, but, they probably shouldn't have shared them. If you've ever been to the Trop, you'd understand why so few actually go. We attended a game in August and there were maybe 15-18,000 in attendance. They were playing another 1st place team, Texas.

Fans at the Trop/Courtesy: Me
We don't blame the fans in this one. The Trop is located in downtown St. Petersburg, perhaps one of the most desolate alleged big-city downtowns in the country. Really, there is nothing that would draw someone from the Tampa area there.

Sure, they are called the "Tampa Bay" Rays, but they are a good 30-minutes from Tampa. There is a much bigger population base in Tampa, in St. Pete, the average age demographic has got to be in the late 50's to early 60's. They aren't hard core sports fans.

We realize the recession hit the area pretty hard, but we truly believe if the team were in the city of Tampa, we wouldn't be having this conversation. We also say that after living in the "Ultimate" apathetic sports city, Atlanta. This we think is different.

The Rays are trying to get a new stadium. Their owner seems to want to do the right thing and get them out of St.Pete. The Mayor of St. Pete, while we sure is an honorable man, is fighting this hard. Unfortunately, the Trop is not a baseball stadium, never has been a baseball stadium and never will be. It just isn't.

We'll keep an eye on this, though we guess that during the playoffs, the stadium will suddenly fill up. The games mean more and at some point, they may end up playing the Yankees, a team with a rather large fanbase in the area.

Check out the postgame comments from Longoria courtesy of Tom Korun and WFTS-TV in Tampa...

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