Last night was only the 8th World Series rematch since the introduction of interleague play. But a look at the stands and one would have thought it was just another mid-week matchup with an AL Central foe. 19,608 was the paid attendance and Matt Silverman is disappointed.
“…we circled this series as one of the most compelling of the year,” team president Matt Silverman said Tuesday night. “It’s a rare privilege to host a rematch of the World Series, especially against a team with local connections. Based on all the information we had, we projected full houses. It’s a huge miss…Quite frankly, we don’t know what to attribute it to, but it’s not just the economy,” he said. “It’s bewildering. There seems to be great affection for the team and excitement for the ’09 campaign, but it’s not showing up at the gate at all.”
Of course, this comes as no surprise to us as we have been tracking the 2009 attendance and it is barely outpacing the 2008 figures with the Rays still near the bottom of the league.
The Rays are never one to say anything negative, but Silverman came very close when asked if the attendance would have been better in Clearwater or Tampa.
“I don’t know how it might have drawn at other locales within Tampa Bay, but a matchup of World Series teams would clearly have drawn a good deal better in every other baseball market.”
The jabs are subtle, but they are starting to come more often and one has to wonder if the Rays are slowly starting to place pressure on the City of St. Pete to either build a new stadium or risk losing their one major league franchise.
Tampa Bay Rays find small crowds “bewildering” [The Heater]