[Update] David Price gave one of those half-hearted apologies. You know the kind that usually starts, “if what I did bothered you, then…”

If I offended anyone I apologize I did not think it was gonna turn into this…

We’re not sure what kind of reaction Price was expecting after he said he was embarrassed by his fans. Maybe he thought everybody would just bow down, kiss his AL Championship ring and apologize. Guess that didn’t happen

[11:29pm] First it was Evan Longoria talking to reporters in the locker room after the game (via Marc Topkin)…

For us to play 155 games and go a full season of playing really good baseball, it’s kind of like, what else do we have to do to draw fans into this place. It’s actually embarrassing for us.

Then it was David Price on Twitter

Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands….embarrassing

And quite frankly, it is hard to argue with them. But at the same time, we weren’t surprised. For whatever reason, there is very little buzz for this team right now. Maybe it is because clinching a playoff spot has been a foregone conclusion for several weeks. Or maybe fans are holding out for the division title.

We don’t know the answer. But we do know that no matter what you think about the comments, they should have never been said. Nothing good can come from them. Calling the fans “embarrassing” is not going to entice more people to show up. Instead, it will just be more fuel for another week’s worth of national media coverage focusing on nothing but the attendance.

 
 

40 Comments

  1. Preston says:

    I went fucking insane on 620′s facebook. I’m sick of this. My last ticket was $15 + tax, great seat. I am so god damn sick of the economy as an excuse. These people sit there and bitch about how they can’t afford food, and can’t afford their children, while they shell out big bucks to Brighthouse or Verizon for internet every month. Fuck.

    • Amanda says:

      For a family of four to watch one game on Bright House: $70 divided by 30 (days in a month), divided by 4 (people) = 58 cents per person. Yeah, that’s really expensive.

      • Preston says:

        You didn’t see the comments. It was an all out sob story over there. Maybe you did, hell. I don’t know. Either way, these people were making it sound like their lives were just absolutely miserable and they could barely go on. I don’t have a lot of pity for people who put themselves in shitty positions, or didn’t plan or save for emergencies.

    • MJ says:

      Its not money people, its location. Or i should say, its more location than money.

  2. Preston says:

    Also, good for Price and Longo. They have every right in the world to be upset about this.

    • caladesi says:

      preston, this blank one is your best comment: just sh00t up! You have no kids or wife, maybe no mortgage and live in a project near the Trop, so you don’t have to drive 1 hr and pay $20 parking for 3 hours, and watch people eat $4 franks and $9 beers. You will not see Platinum and Diamond games next year either. It was a failed sales tactic. and Price and Longo do not need to criticize to ask the fans to show up! Longo should be helping Peña and Price Helping Shields to get out of their own embarrassments.

  3. Thad says:

    Shocked? Not really. But publicly flogging your fanbase is a dicey proposition at best. Calling out your fans to the rest of the nation is not a viable strategy for improving attendance. No matter what the intent of the comments.

  4. Amanda says:

    I don’t understand how players calling their fan base “embarassing” is going to make them go flocking to the games. I really wish they would at least play a little bit of devil’s advocate in their comments that they understand the economy’s for shit, especially in Tampa. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: There are people there who have been out of work for three years, not for being lazy and not for lack of trying. And now the Bucs, Lightning, and Bulls are starting. People have to choose: Football vs. Baseball. Meaningless games against the O’s vs. Actual playoff games. (Sorry that fans don’t want to see you open up $30 bottles of champaign and spray them all over the place in this economy.)

    Look, I’m not jealous of their money. They earn a proper percentage of the money their “company” brings in. But for them not to grasp the whole picture and sympathise with their fans really drives me up the wall.

    • Preston says:

      When will we start looking at personal responsibility? I would imagine that anyone out of work for 3 years now, has a house or any kind of disposable income at all. Unless you’re stealing money from me through welfare, in which case, cheers. Why do they have to sympathize? Do they not give enough back to the community as it is? A good chunk of Tampa Bay’s starters have a charity, or some form of it that they work on during the offseason. Is that not enough? Are we that greedy? They don’t have to sympathize with anything. They do their part. I’m rambling now, but this whole “The economy suckz LOLZ” excuse is getting old.

      • Gatorbuc15 says:

        I totally agree. You look at New York & Boston and they have 30,000 people every day! They are having economic hardships as well! But yet they still manage to flock to the ball park.
        Boston’s season is pretty much over and they still kick our a$$es in attendance numbers. And even other (non big money) teams, that have no shot of making the playoffs, still draw more fans!
        It’s just sickening.

        • The BIZ says:

          you guys have to be fresh out of college or chicks. Did you just compare tampa to NYC asa market. 9 million compared to 3 million and the financial capital of the world. Its not a comparable market. next point please.

          • The BIZ says:

            FYI 9million is only counting the boroughs. its more like 15-20 million including, longisland, new jersey and conneticut. and youre talking about genrations that have grown up watching these teams. its beyond comprehension when someone compares the two.

      • Amanda says:

        Personal responsibility?? PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?!?!? My best friend’s husband was a construction worker. THERE ARE NO DAMN CONSTRUCTION JOBS!!! My best friend — his wife — is working 18 hour days, 7 days a week working two jobs to help support their family (two chidren under 11), and trying to get him through PHCC so he CAN find a job. AND she had to do it through the death of her mother, her father, and their baby when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant all in a 34-day stretch in 2008. And all the infinite jobs he’s applied for in the past three years he’s been passed over! He can’t even get Joe jobs at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s because he has managerial experience, so he’s too experienced for those jobs. He’s about to graduate, but still the prospect is looking bleak! DON’T YOU EVER SAY AGAIN THAT SOMEONE WHO YOU’VE NEVER MET IS NOT TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY!! HOW DARE YOU!

        • come on says:

          Really? Thats probably the most rediculous comment ive ever seen. As stated earlier, there are roughly 3 million people in this market. Im pretty sure the comment wasnt directed at any one person. Ur best friends hardships are sad and all but there are ten of thousands of people who CAN afford go to the games. Dont take random comments on the internet so personally, and for your sake, take it easy with the caps lock. Makes you look eccentric and overly dramatic.

        • Preston says:

          Seriously? I’m sorry your buddy is having a shit time, but I’m sure even they could look back and see how they could have prepared for the future better. Calm down.

  5. Thad says:

    Gotta give it up for Mooney from Trib a little. He reports on the attendance issue some but not every day of every homestand. Topkin at SPTimes must have some lucrative incentive comp plan that’s based solely on how many times he can fan the flames of the attendance issue every single day thru every possible media vehicle available.

  6. As a diehard Phillies fan, I gotta say that Longo and Price are right (if lacking in tact). The plain fact is that the Rays have put one of the best products in baseball on the field. They’re an exciting team that has an excellent chance of returning to the World Series (and losing to the Phils) this year. Those guys have a lot of heart and are doing everything a baseball team can possibly do to draw attendance. It’s not just the economy. Phoenix, St. Louis, and Detroit have been hit as hard by the recession as anyplace in the country, have worse teams, and still draw more fans than Tampa Bay. So, since you guys care enough to get this blog out there, maybe you can enlighten me… Is Tampa Bay-St. Pete just not a baseball town? Do people talk about the Rays or rock their gear around town? I mean, you guys have enough passion to come up with that lame cowbell thing. What’s going on down there?

  7. BurGi says:

    I don’t think fans in the Tampa Bay area are “worse” BB fans than in most other cities.

    Just a quick comparison:

    City Pers. Income in Mio. $ (2009) City Pop. MSA Pop.
    Greater Boston $246,471 645,000 4,590,000
    Metro Detroit $165,311 910,000 4,400,000
    Phoenix Metro Area $149,611 1,600,000 4,370,000
    Greater St. Louis $114,127 355,000 2,830,000
    Tampa Bay Area $101,045 248,000 2,750,000

    1) They have more income, a larger population and more people within 15 min to the stadium (city pop)!
    2) 3 of them have lots of tradition and a long history! It’s better to compare the Rays attendance with comparable markets: Oakland, Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Denver, Cincinnati, San Diego!
    3) The D’Backs and Tigers don’t outdraw the Rays by much more than the numbers above would suggest! The Red Sox don’t do it either, but they would if their Ballpark ‘d be bigger.

    • James says:

      Thanks for stating facts. Unemployment percentage would be a good one to list up there too. The Rays have had a lot of trouble putting butts in seats on monday nights in the past. They had a poor turn out for the Yankees when they were here for a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday series. Granted there are playoff implications. At the end of the day it is a Monday night game against the Orioles

  8. Jason says:

    My wife and I go to about 10-15 games a year. Attendance sucks because of economy and the stadium (physically and location).

    Also, attendance is down across the board. We are like 20th in attendance, in the middle of the pack! With 20 times as many people, the Yankees actually have only sold out 14 games this year! The Rays are one of the few teams with INCREASED attendance over the last few years.

    Get past the attendance (players and media) and just focus on winning the AL East. By winning you are building a fan base that will pay off in the future.

  9. Sarah says:

    I agree that going to the Trop is not difficult to get to or even that expensive compared to other entertainment options.

    Nonetheless I was put off being lectured to by two single, 20-something millionaires about how I should spend my time and money. Especially on a night when the Rays offense also failed to show up.

    Hey, if they’d won a few more games they could have clinched over the weekend, and had closer to a full house.

  10. Charles says:

    I think a big attendance advantage for the Red Sox (I live in the Boston metro area) is public transportation. You can take the train/trolley pretty close to the stadium at multiple stops, or you can get off the train earlier and walk to the stadium from even more. I would argue that driving to Fenway from just about anywhere and then finding parking is WORSE than driving to the Trop. I’ve driven to Fenway once in my life and I will never do it again. Luckily for me, I can walk to a subway station from my house and I can walk to the stadium from work, so I do get to see the Rays when they’re in town.

    The problem is, you can’t just drop a public transportation option into a city/metro area and expect that to be the magic bullet. For it to be built at all, it has to fill more needs than just stadium transportation and for it to benefit attendance, it has to run through neighborhoods where people want to go to the game and can easily get to the train from their homes. That means walkability and probably parking lots/garages at many stops. Can you find space for something the size of a train station + parking at multiple stops along a route and still have it be an optimal route for both general commuters and stadium commuters? And then even after all that, can you get people to use the thing at all? I remember the monorail they built in Jacksonville that cost huge money and nobody used it (of course, they really did not route plan that thing well at all).

    I guess what we maybe don’t have a full grasp of is what people find to be too expensive? Is it the tickets and concessions alone, is it the cost of gas & parking, is it the time cost of driving? If it’s the first, no stadium location or accessibility option will solve that problem. But even if lowering one or both of the latter two would help, either of the main fixes (new stadium or public transportation line) would be years off. In the meantime, it is what it is.

    I wonder how much it would cost the Rays to sponsor their own bus fleet? Get out to the neighborhoods & shuttle people to the Trop and back. Even if it’s a million or two, can they not save that by using a minor leaguer in place of a Gabe Kapler?

  11. zenny says:

    I just shelled out $1000 for a pair of playoff tickets (you’re required to buy the maximum possible all the way through the WS) but didn’t make it to the game last night. Sorry if that’s embarrassing to a couple of major leaguers who, while they’re underpaid compared to some others in baseball, have no children and pull in paychecks of at least 10 times the average salary around these parts… among people who are actually able to find work these days.

    You have to remember that both Price and Longo are young guys and are thus prone to shooting off their mouths irrationally. But seriously, fellas, just shut up and play the damn game. We’re watching on TV, and we’ll be there if you actually win another ballgame to make the playoffs.

  12. d-money says:

    I don’t see where the comments they made were all that bad. They were just stating a fact. They could have clinched only their second postseason berth ever and no one showed up. Longo just sounded to me like a guy who would love to share this experience with the fans and he’s bothered that it seems the fans aren’t interested.

    And as for the economy crap why is it not a problem for people to come to games when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town?

    How many people do you know that just this past weekend drove to Gainsville to watch the Gators? Or drive to Tallahassee when the Seminoles a playing.

    The economy is bad we all know that but don’t tell me that there are only 12,000 people in town that can afford to go to a Rays game because that is just not true.

    They’re right it was embarrassing.

    • Mike says:

      “Longo just sounded to me like a guy who would love to share this experience with the fans ”

      then he shouldnt have used the word “embarrassing”

      “why is it not a problem for people to come to games when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town?”

      because if somebody can only afford to go to a few games a year, they are more likely to pick games against the Red Sox and Yankees.

      “How many people do you know that just this past weekend drove to Gainsville to watch the Gators? Or drive to Tallahassee when the Seminoles a playing. ”

      a lot. But those teams only play 6-7 home games a year.

      “don’t tell me that there are only 12,000 people in town that can afford to go to a Rays game ”

      nobody is saying that. we are saying that there aren’t that many that can go to a LOT of games

      • d-money says:

        “nobody is saying that. we are saying that there aren’t that many that can go to a LOT of games”

        Longo even said he understands that games in the middle of the season are going to have lower attendance.

        I think the frustration comes from the fact that they were probably expecting a huge crowd to be there because of the implications of the evening and then when they run out there the place is empty.

        Its like throwing a party and none of your friends show up.

    • Beth says:

      I disagree with you. It is, as others have noted, partly a question of timing. They just lost two games to last place teams, and THEY are complaining about US? Had they won last night perhaps a comment to the effect that it was a shame that more fans weren’t there to share it might have been appropriate.

      Also, I agree with Gus (below) that getting people in seats is management’s job. This is entertainment, not an obligation. You don’t guilt people into paying money to have fun. They sound like clergy browbeating congregants who fail to come to church.

      • d-money says:

        Ok Beth, so they lost 2 games in a row so thats an excuse for no one two show up to games? What about the 93 other games that they have won so far? That sounds like classic fair wheater fan mentality.

        I also don’t see where he was guilting anyone he was just stating how he feels. He didn’t say anyone should spend money they don’t have he just said he doesn’t know what else they have to do to get people out to the games.

        And Mike You’re right the Gators and Seminoles only have a few games a year but my point is people “choose” to spend their money going to other things.

        It is their right but don’t say that nobody has the money to go to games. They just “choose” to spend the money on other things.

        Say what you want but the best team in baseball could have clinched only their second playoff spot ever last night and no one showed up.

  13. Gus says:

    The people who should be embarassed are Rays marketing and management. It is their job to get people into the stadium. They’ve done a good job on the weekend dates, but September weekday games all come back to season ticket subcriptions, which are obviously painfully low.

    Also, it should be noted that the Rays rent increases as attendance hits certain thresholds. So unlike lots of franchises which paper the house, they don’t give away tickets because it will cost them more rent to the Trop (I believe 2M is one of the thresholds to increase the rent).

  14. caladesi says:

    I do not hear Car Dealerships or Furniture Stores or J.C Penney, Sears, Macy’s or other corporations at the Mall getting embarrassed by poor traffic and sagging sales. THEY JUST OFFER PROMOTIONS AND DISCOUNTS AND BIG COLOR ADVERTISING IN THE PAPERS AND BILLBOARDS ALL OVER THE CITY. The Rays are just complaining to make their case for a new stadium. Guys, they need the NOISE now!

  15. Jay says:

    The entire Rays organization has no clue how to build a fanbase… no one can argue with what they’ve done on the field, but the commit just about every mistake you could when trying to build a fanbase.

    It’s all in how you say something… but why should we be surprised – ownership is due up next to tell us how expensive this lineup is and how much they are looking forward to cutting payroll. It’s a symphony of stupidity in Public Relations over there.

  16. Bill in New Port Richey says:

    I am real sorry that the owners aren’t happy with attendance adn feel they have to get their two brightest stars to complain to the fans. I am tired of our fans being compared to other fans like the Yankees and the Red Sox. Those two teams have been in their communities for 100 years and ours has been here for 15. It takes awhile to build a fan base like that. Maybe the owners should operate within their budget and not need so much while they are building fans… now there’s and idea…

  17. Jack Hamir says:

    What a hilarious banter– people in Tampa complaining like only they had a recession, bills to pay, kids to feed. Put the Rays in Cleveland, and we would be packing 40,000 plus in every night– just like the 1990′s, when we set the record for consecutive sellouts.

    You guys are just lame! Face it– you have one of the best teams in baseball, and you stay home and watch moss grow on trees!

  18. Preston says:

    I think people complained LESS when the Rays were losing..

  19. kenny mayne says:

    Regardless of his affection for the west coast, I think it’s clear that Maddon will not be Rays manager for life — he enjoys the kind of larger than life presence that cries out for a big media market.

    But, petty as it seems, his perspective bugs me a little. The Rays pay him millions of dollars to lead a team that the national media already perceives as unloved. Can’t he at least talk up the Tampa Bay area a bit for his salary? For goodness sake, Joe, you earn enough to move your wife and kids here and make this home.

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