Well, if there wasn’t buzz surrounding this Rays squad yesterday, there sure is today. Needless to say, there has been a lot written and there are a million opinions about Evan Longoria and David Price saying last night’s attendance was “embarrassing.” Let’s look at a few samples…

From Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider:

But there’s a reason for it. The economy in Tampa Bay is a mess – it’s much worse than the poor economy nationwide…Tampa Bay is particularly screwed because the only industries down there are real estate, shipping, and tourism…Pretty much all three of those industries are in the tank right now, but the real estate industry is the worst off. Today we learned from the New York Times that there are 300,000 vacant homes in Florida.

From The Big Lead:

Here’s what we’d ask our 17 readers in lovely Tampa: Did you miss Monday Night Football, How I Met Your Mother, and Gossip Girl all to sit through a Rays-Orioles game? Yeah, yeah, we know about the magical powers of Tivo, but it’s never fun to play catch-up all week…And with so many good movies out, you can easily find yourself a week behind on TV if you don’t divide your time wisely. It’s never fun to go on Facebook and find friends spoiling TV shows you missed because you went to a baseball game….While we agree with Price and Longoria, the smart move for the thrifty fan would be to save your money for two rounds of playoff tickets, which can be expensive.

From Deadspin:

Monday happened to be an opportunity for the Rays to clinch at least a playoff spot. Note that this wasn’t clear until late Sunday night: we’re really blasting fans for not heading to last night’s game on the spur of the moment, because they should have dropped their plans and shown up in droves to celebrate a worst-case scenario of a Wild Card…The fact is, we’ve never been able to judge the passion of fans in Florida because neither of their teams have ever opened up the purse strings, fielded a regular winner, or played in an attractive stadium. The Rays have always been a horribly managed team, now coasting on their conveyor belt of high draft picks. It’s an axiom everywhere in baseball, not to mention in life: you have to spend money to make money…If the Rays are struggling to draw 15,000, or 20,000 people every night, don’t blame Florida fans as a whole. Blame the Rays.

From Big League Stew:

No matter their good intentions, no matter their honesty, no matter if they have reason to be upset — even if they were 1000 percent correct — what Longoria and Price did was a mistake…It’s a cardinal rule: You don’t criticize your fan base. It’s stupid. It’s ignorant. It won’t get you what you want. It makes you look entitled, spoiled, narrow-minded and short-sighted…The timing was poor, too, after losing 4-0 to theBaltimore Orioles. No matter how well you’re doing — and the Rays are having a great season — nobody wants to hear how bad the attendance was on a night when your team is shut out. It’s an obvious lack of perspective.

From Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune:

Spending your money to follow professional sports teams is not a moral obligation. Even if times were good (which they aren’t), you don’t owe the teams a thing…But it works both ways, so don’t blame the Tampa Bay Rays for wondering whether they really have a future around here after 12,446 fans showed up Monday at Tropicana Field on a night when the home team could have clinched a playoff spot…what people outside the area are saying about this place might be true. This really might be a lousy baseball market.

From Buster Olney of ESPN.com:

Saying this stuff out loud makes no sense whatsoever, in the same way it makes no sense for a farmer or a hardware-store owner or a computer-outlet owner to complain about the customers. Can you imagine if the owner of a bagel store — and I worked as a baker in bagel stores in West Lebanon, N.H., and in Nashville during my college years — in St. Petersburg were to talk like Longoria?

From Perpetual Beta (Ed. note: be sure to click through and read this entire “Open Letter to the Rays”):

And yet you’re forced to wonder: where the hell are the fans? Let me start off by saying this: you have no idea how much this town loves this team. You weren’t around for the dismal years, the green-and-purple years, the basement-fixture years. You want empty seats? Ask Carl Crawford how many fans came to games when he first got here…Just because they aren’t pressing warm flesh to plastic seats doesn’t mean they aren’t with you. Check the TV ratings—through the roof. Check the merchandising—I’ve never seen more Rays gear on the street than I have this year. Check the game coverage—not from the newspapers or TV, but on blogs and Twitter. Tampa Bay loves the Rays, and you made us love you.

From

 
 

22 Comments

  1. Mike Wasylik says:

    Hey, thanks for the link! Truth is, what annoys me most is that we *aren’t* packing the Trop every night. I wish we were, but we’re not. And there’s no quick fix for that.

    But fan apathy isn’t the problem.

    • Nick says:

      Tell major league baseball to stop the ridiculous salaries that are being paid to this ball players and have the owners lower the prices of their tickets and the ball parks will fill up much more often then they do now. Look at the Yankee’s, who in their right mind would pay $1100 for a single seat? Only the people that have way too much money to begin with. The average person with a child or two can’t afford to go to a game. Smarten up baseball and other sports and get your act together or just stop crying about poor attendance.

  2. nate says:

    I appreciate this posting. I hate that attendance is being discussed during the last week of one of the only three seasons of Rays baseball that wasn’t a complete disaster. At least it isn’t all venom in our direction out there.

  3. On cue, Rays to Conn. talk….

  4. Tito says:

    maybe they should come up and play in Boston where the games are sold out through next year!

  5. Leighroy says:

    So when are the national media types gunna press the panic buttons for Cincinnati, San Diego and Atlanta???

  6. Beth says:

    What bugs me about Evan and David choosing this moment to unload….is that now, once again, the only conversation about the Rays heard nationally is the one about attendance. Not about Price’s Cy Young chances, or the Rays likely October roster, just the same old tired drivel about the lousy baseball fans in our area. Thanks, guys, I’m really looking forward to reading/hearing more of that in the coming days. I think Big League Stew’s response is among the sanest and most evenhanded.

  7. Nathan says:

    What about playing for the love of the game? These comments are why fans think million dollar ball players are spoiled.

  8. Ro says:

    I really like the open letter. The Rays are a reason I’m a baseball fan, too. And what is the deal about salary cuts next year? I’ve heard rumors, but I haven’t read anything major about it.

    I really like the point in the letter too, about where the fans are, even if they aren’t at the games. I live in Arizona, and already checked, praying, that the Rays would be here for interleague next year, but they’re not. So I’ll be going to Anaheim next year because that’s the closes they’ll be to me. Wish I could fly to St. Petersburg, but Anaheim is more feasable. I wish we could have done it this year, but didn’t plan in time. I’ve never been to Florida, but I love the Rays and I listen daily on Gameday audio.

  9. slacker775 says:

    I was at Fenway for the game we won a few weeks back. There were a LOT of people wearing Rays gear. I was really surprised considering the Sox were still distantly in the race and all the talk of how much they love their team.

    Like anybody, I would have loved to be able to get to the game, but being all the way down in the corner in St Pete, on a work/school night, against the Orioles…. Not a lot of room for a walkup “Hey, let’s go to the game” kind of crowd.

  10. Amanda says:

    Wow, I’m actually surprised at how many national blogs are actually sticking up for the fan base in one form or another.

  11. Kelley says:

    I agree with what you said on twitter, Cork, that something is weird about Longoria and Price doing this. That they both said the word, “embarrassing”, does seem strange. It’s like they’re trying to get the team to move or make the case that the Rays shouldn’t be in the Tampa Bay area. I don’t know what they were thinking but it doesn’t seem like Price and Longoria to do something like that, from the little we know of them.

    • Beth says:

      As Cork implied on his Twitter feed, I think this looks like something they were asked to do. Yeah, I can believe that players sitting in the dugout might gripe to eachother about low attendance, but both on their own suddenly decide to make public statements? And these two guys seem very public relations savvy. I think this was planned and coordinated.

      • Gus says:

        I agree with Beth.

        This is all part of the pr campaign for letting Crawford go and cutting the payroll by a third. Started last week when Stu told all of his friends in the national media that he is cutting payroll, and that nothing in post-season reciepts can change that (as if that money doesn’t count or something, a total lie). Next, he has the players rip the fans (have they not opened their eyes on every other Monday night?) to counter the fact that Rays are drawing more this year than 2008, less than 1.0% off of 2009 and the WS honeymoon. As soon as the season is over, he’ll open up “blame the stadium-Part III”.

        If Evan wanted to rally the fans, then he’s have not started off with the embarassment lines.

        Remember, the rays face internal pressure from other MLB teams to not pocket the revenue sharing. But they are pocketing the revenue sharing if they have a payroll in the $40s. And finally, lest we forget, a 500,000 increase in attendance is worth about $10M to the Rays, or is roughly 1.1 Pat Burrells, or about 10 post-season home dates (worth more because of the ticket prices). Rays could have 10 home dates this year in the post-season.

    • Preston says:

      Honestly? What it sounded or seemed like to me, was a guy backing his buddy up. I can see Price watching what happened after those comments were made, and not wanting Longo to get all the heat from the fire. That’s what I saw.

  12. The BIZ says:

    You know what the worst thing about it is to me? I know its embarassing, hell everyone knows its embarassing. BUT what about the current fans that are spending thousands of dollars a year. all we get to hear about is how crappy our fan base is, and our players just threw gasoline on the fire. heres my letter to these guys.

    To David and Evan,

    I know its an embarassment, but I was there yesterday and have been there 50 times this year at least. What did you really think you were gunna achieve except insult the true fans that were there at the game and those who werent too. you nor taking the fan perspective or the everyday person persepctive. You look around and you just think things should be a certain way so you say it like you see it. There is an ownership and a front office to figure these problems out and you should be confident they are working hard to optimize the market and the product it provides. While I undersand your frustration, it was immature and not well thought out because it brings nothing but negative attention to a positive season. If the attendance was as simple as scolding the fans than the front office would of had commercials made with hulk hogan punching a tampa native for not showing up and ownership wouldnt be looking for a new stadium and a new location. The problems are beyond fan apathy, i actually the city/area loves this team, but there needs to be a business adjustment, which ownerships is working on with the city of st pete. Although I understand why you felt the way you did because I to am embarassed.However, I now feel like your against me when before I thought we were all in it together, fan players frontoffice. its a shame as well intentioned as your words are they hurt alot of loyal and die hard fans. I know now I myself am not appreciated you are to focused on those who arent there than those who are. The players job is to worry about those who are showing up its ownerships &frontoffice to worry about those who are not.

  13. Evan’s still mad someone stole his hat.

  14. Namirsolo says:

    http://www.foxsportsflorida.com/09/28/10/Longoria-calls-low-fan-attendace-embaras/layout_raysblog.html?blockID=319803&feedID=5582

    Evan’s full statement is a lot less upsetting than the quote that was being reported as all he said. He immediately said he didn’t mean to insult the fan base- that part wasn’t reported.

  15. Don says:

    I find it ironic that the player I respect most on the team as a
    Player AND as a person is CC…you didn’t hear him open his mouth about this stupid shit… at least as “embarssing”
    2nd on my list of respect is Zo & Bartlett….Ditto for them!

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