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.
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.