So the Rays failed to clinch a playoff berth? Joe’s not worried. It’s not if, but when.

But that Derek Shelton special, a three-hit shutout loss to the putrid Orioles, quickly took a backseat to the grousing of Rays players that the Fruitdome was not packed to the catwalks by fans. Dirtbag and David Price lashed out after the game, using two different forms of media, to express their disgust with the Tampa Bay community.

First it was Dirtbag, who admitted he had been biting his tongue for some time. Cork previously documented Dirtbag’s thoughts.

But the big blowup was David Price. Again Cork has this documented.

In minutes, the issue had gone viral on Twitter. Apparently enough fans shot back at Price that he issued a public apology, but it was too late. Even Joe’s good friend, the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, “The Big Dog,” Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620, shot back at Price, speaking for the Rays fandom as a whole.

@BigDogwdae  @DAVIDprice14. How would you like it if they showed up to watch you lay an egg like you did? You guys offended the whole town with comments.

Duemig went further when he posted on his Facebook account:

It’s all out war now!!! Players need to shut their YAPS and so does the national media, as they are jumping on the Price and Longoria bandwagon. Stick to freaking baseball guys. You could have clinched on Sunday in front of 25k!!!

At a time when there should be so much joy, there is now a divide between the players and fans.

At least Rays fans don’t have to resort to shady, underground foreign websites to watch low-quality streaming of the Rays.

WTSP-TV producer and co-founder of RaysRev.com, Mike Weber, answered Price’s initial missive with a beautifully written piece of sarcasm chastising Rays fans (wink, wink) on behalf of Price and Dirtbag.

I don’t care that the there was no way of knowing that tonight’s game was going to be a clincher until well after midnight last night. I don’t care that maybe you don’t have the money or the time to drop everything and head out to a baseball game.

Maybe you should’ve called in sick to that second job you’ve got in the evening. Don’t worry, it’s not like there are other people out there trying for the same job. Maybe you should find someone else to watch the kids while your husband is working overtime. Or maybe you should play hooky.

I don’t care that maybe you’re trying to save a few of your extra dollars to put toward a playoff ticket or two. I don’t care that you have other obligations for your money.

In short, Joe believes players — no matter the team — should concern themselves with their jobs on the field. The rest, eventually, will take care of itself.

Last time Joe checked, there is still work to be accomplished.

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66 Comments

  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    I'm sorry BigDogwdae, but I disagree. How did they offend the town? They spoke the truth in that no one shows up to watch them! A team that is almost certain to make the playoffs!
    And I am sorry to also say that the 25k on Sunday ain't $hit compared to other attendances for playoff contenders that day!

    As you can tell, I'm on the side of the players. The Rays have had a fantastic year but the fans just don't seem to give a $hit! It's pretty damn sad when teams that don't have a chance to get to the playoffs draw more fans. It's downright disgusting!

    Go to the games!

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    • PAUL says:

      Baseball has been falling out of the nation's consciousness for years now.
      American soccer has been catching up with the rest of the world.
      Little league baseball has almost disappeared in many venues. That's where the love of baseball starts.

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      • Matt says:

        PAUL, WTF!!! HAHA!!!!!!!!!!! American socceris catching up to the rest of the world?!HUH? What are you smoking? Might be the funniest comment I've seen across all boards. Hey, it sucks no one is going to see a great Tampa team, but it has nothing to do with the Soccer Scene creeping up on American Society.

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      • Joe says:

        I love guys like Paul who watch one World Cup and all of a sudden think soccer is so big in this country. WRONG!! Little League is still huge and soccer will NEVER replace baseball in popularity in this country. And, yes, the players were 100% justified in telling their fans to get out to the park and I don't even want to hear the "Oh woe is me I need to work and/or take care of my kids" crap. If you can't support your team now then you don't deserve to have one. Boy I hope the owner moves this team to a deserving city.

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      • Tim says:

        Paul,

        Baseball is still by far America's pasttime. The NFL (as in American football, not futball) is coming close.

        Soccer? People have been saying what your saying for 20 years. It's a great game for the kids, but it will never reach baseball like popularity for the viewing or attending fans.

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      • Gatorbuc15 says:

        Sorry but that doesn't make much sense to me.

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      • Mike says:

        You have no clue, Paul, if you believe Baseball is fading in popularity. It's actually doing the opposite, it's gaining popularity. Attendance has been on a steady climb since the Subway Series in 2000. They're shattering attendance records everywhere!! The ratings, aside from the small market World Series', are all up. Just because Tampa Bay has a difficult time drawing people to watch them doesn't mean that holds true for all the others. And as far as Little League, it's as strong as ever from what I've observed.
        The bottom line: Soccer never has and never will {EVER!} supercede Baseball in the general mind of North America.

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    • bmc says:

      They had good intentions. Keep doing what you're doing and when you beat the Yankees you'll see your attendance numbers go up.

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    • bob says:

      Ok Baseball was the pasttime and it has gone past its peak.. Get more fans its easy

      Lower the price of tickets meaning players contracts need to be less. Shorten the season to where WS is played in Sept not in the Snow of Nov. ...

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    • Kenneth says:

      I have an idea. Why don't the stars of the team get together and buy some tickets for fans who would like to go to games and can't afford it. I am sure with all the money these guys have they can raise the attendance and management would appreciate it. The complaints about lack of fans would then subside.

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    • Jim says:

      Agents remind us through the media that it is a business. Owners remind us the same. The winning does not a product make. If you don't enjoy yourself at the park for ANY reason, you don't go. Perhaps it is all the reminding that it is a business is finally making consumers out of what used to be fanatical fans. The players, agents, unions and owners need to look at the PRODUCT. GM and Chrysler made acceptable cars but they went (defacto) out of business because they didn't get enough customers ... like the Tampa Bay Rays.

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  2. larryfine says:

    Instead of criticizing the fans that mostly watch on TV, the millionaire players and billionaire owners should go into the stands and make out with the folks that can still afford to buy tickets, pay $20 to park, and get gouged on cheap, bad food for the wife and kids.

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    • cRays says:

      The food is TERRIBLE and overpriced. The fact is that the trop sucks. No one wants to spend 40-45 minutes driving to the trop from Tampa or another area in Tampa Bay to go to a crappy area of St. Pete. I loved going to games to watch the team play, but I could only afford one game per homestand (and those were on nights where I could leave work early). By the time someone gets home from work in Tampa Bay, you don't have time or energy to go to a game. But accessibility is the issue. All of the large cities have easy transportation to go to games (with the exception of Atlanta). There are very few options for going to Rays games besides driving yourself. Living in St. Paul now, it's way easier to go to a Twins game in Mpls than drive to a game at the Trop from South Tampa.

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      • Beth says:

        Bring your own food. Makes the experience much more enjoyable.

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        • Melanie says:

          And what MLB ballpark do you go to that allows you to bring in outside food?

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          • Cork Gaines says:

            The Trop does

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          • Beth says:

            Yes, what Cork said. You park in a Downtown St. Pete garage for $5 (or free, sometimes, on the street). You bring food from home or take out from any one of the many restaurants in the area. You bring bottles of water. If you can't live without a beer, you buy one at the stadium. But do it this way and basically you are just out the cost of tickets, without paying much for parking or food.

            I don't have much patience for people who say they won't go to a game because it costs AT LEAST $50 a person -- it doesn't!

            But I still don't want to have Evan Longoria calling me out because I wasn't there last night. If he'd like to show up tomorrow to teach my 7:35am class, I'll come to the Trop tonight.

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    • Edward says:

      I begin each day with the highlights of last night's games. A day doesn't go by that a Rays player is not in at least one of the top ten plays. This team, my team, is exciting to watch. They play with passion.

      Many of the fan base must watch from home. Passionately supporting, loyal to a fault. What many of us have in common is no job or source of verifiable income for over a year now, losing our homes, our retirement gone, and not much hope of turning the corner on the prospect of a change in career. The jobs aren't out there. But the fans are.

      We love our Rays. Evan and David's comments were made in frustration. They love their fans. They would just like to see more of them actually in the stands instead of posting their support on blogs like this one.

      If we could play ball at the junction of I-75 & I-4, we might draw more people, but individuals in economic crisis would still be supporting our team behind a small screen TV in our living rooms, while searching the want ads between innings.

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  3. caladesi says:

    Every home game has 15-20k empty seats available. Why don't they give away tickets to local school kids, or through churches or other youth programs. A kid with a free ticket will prompt the family to take him to the game. Or maybe Buy 2 get 1 free. The Rays need a fresh "recession marketing campaign" to fill the trop. At least they will sell their 'golden' Hot Dogs and 'millionaire's beer'. They probably don't want to sell out, to make their case for a new ballpark? Just asking

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  4. lou Sosh says:

    Hey millionaire players, play the darn game and shut up and stop telling me i should go to the game instead of buying bread.

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  5. d-money says:

    Hey just saw this post linked to a story on Yahoo.

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  6. Skater6 says:

    I think there is some confusion regarding the attendance. If you look at the schedule, last nights game was "costume night" . Looks like everyone dressed up as an empty seat.

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  7. Nick says:

    "Maybe you should’ve called in sick to that second job you’ve got in the evening. Don’t worry, it’s not like there are other people out there trying for the same job. Maybe you should find someone else to watch the kids while your husband is working overtime. Or maybe you should play hooky."

    I'm sorry, are these conditions not the same everywhere else in the country, including cities with stadiums that get packed every night? Weak argument.

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    • Beth says:

      Actually, our unemployment rate is among the highest, and our population within an hour of the stadium much lower than other areas.

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  8. Sjay says:

    Agree with most of what you have to say, but I also understand the frustrations of the players. It's hard to have a home field advantage with only 12k in the stands. Joe for the sake of my sanity and if you want my continued readership please stop referring to yourself in the 3rd person.

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  9. Ken Mahieu says:

    I'm somewhat in the middle, and an out of towner so I'm a bit less hysterical about the issue. My first comment is "hey chill, everybody, this isn't about war, hunger, peace; it's about statements from two baseball players. You're offended, too bad. The nut of what they are saying is absolutely true, and you can duck the issue by bringing up a lot of other junk which only confuses the basic issue." My second thought is that they should have used a little common sense in how they phrased their complaint, but hey they're baseball players. All of us cringe when we hear an athlete start an argument with how hard they play (uh, how much money do you make?). Maybe it would have been a bit smarter to comment on how disappointing and energy draining it is to play in front of empty seats, and how envious they are of opponents playing in full houses in NYC and Beantown, and how their opponents really get charged from playing in front of those crowds.

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  10. rick says:

    the recession is worse elsewhere folks. like for example in detroit, where i am from originally. I guarantee that the tigers draw more fans this year than the rays even they are a .500 club and the rays are among the best teams in baseball. Longoria and Price were right: the rays fanbase is weak and desrved to be called out.

    I only wish that they would move somehere that might actually appreciate them. like say new york or chicago or maybe portland Oregon. sad too that great fans like those in KC have a crap team and then Floridians, who couldn't care less about baseball, get two good franchises.

    More power to Longoria and Price. I was thinking the same thing the other night as I watched them play to an empty ballpark.

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  11. Noerheastrd says:

    I am a Red Sox fan and our fans are always at Fenway even when we are in a losing situation which we are this year, but at the moment we are holding off the end for either the Yankees or the Rays. Aha!

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  12. Ron says:

    Agree with players. Other cities would love to have the Rays.

    What's wrong with the stadium??? Wouldn't sit outdoors in this summer heat.

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  13. Mike Mohner says:

    The Tampa Bay fans are a joke. They do not deserve this team. Move them to Cleveland where we would be happy to sell out every game.

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  14. D. Floyd says:

    Love the Rays,but get a reality check.. Many families don't have jobs and are fighting to keep homes and feed their families.

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  15. BrewerFan says:

    Brewers have been out of it since early August and we had 30k fans at Miller Park on Sunday. We'd kill to have the team you guys have. No excuses...pathetic!

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  16. mystic7 says:

    At least you know the ones who show up are sincere, not like Marlins fans. 3,000 average attendance except when they're in the playoffs when 67,000 suddenly realize they're Marlins fans.

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  17. New Englander says:

    Domed stadiums are horrendous to the ears. I went to the next to last game in Montreal before they left for DC. there were 11,000 fans there (the second largest crowd of the season) and I walked out of there nearly deaf.

    Either build a new stadium and hope it will be fan friendly or move. Love to see the Rays move to the northeast, possibly New York or Boston. Think about realignment...Rays move north to either city (preferably Boston...) then move the Mets to the AL East. Make that the four team division, change the AL West to a 5 team and the let the wild war begin...

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  18. mjoh2004 says:

    Been to numerous games this season, I enjoy the Trop & cheering on the Rays. I prefer to sit inside during our hottest days, watching in air conditioned comfort. I'm sure the team prefers this as well. Crawford sweats just walking out on the field. The players are entitled to voice their concern or displeasure. It must be disheartening when you go to other towns & see the support, I'm sure. That doesn't mean the fans aren't there or behind them. It's easy to place blame on why the attendance is down, which it's always been, unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town. On the other hand, Rays baseball made money this year. Why is (almost) every game. The exception to this is the Summer Concert Series, which I throughly enjoy. Been to 3 of those myself this year. Attendance is higher, not just because of the concerts, but because they're not televised. The team makes a lot of money off the televised rights, which helps offset the low attendance. Why is it this never is brought up, or the fact the team is operating at a profit. Not objecting to profits, just sayin'

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  19. island says:

    When you spend a good chunk of your away games in NYC and Boston where sellout crowds with enthusiastic fans are involved in every play it probably seems surreal to play in front of small crowds at home.
    But the economy being what it is and a smaller fan base than the Yankees and Boston you will never draw the people in . Reds had low attendance last year but now that they are winning and lowering ticket prices people are going to games.Bringing your own food and water will save you a bundle.

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  20. Giacomo says:

    What a world we live in. It's no longer important or acceptable to speak the truth for fear that you are not politically correct and you might be offending someone. It's sad that the Rays don't have more fans. You'll see the so-called fans come out in droves when the playoffs start and especially if they make the World Series. Fair weather fans I call them. If you can't support your team all season, then you shouldn't be making an appearance at the playoff games. The pro sports world is only for the rich now anyway and not for the true sports fans. Who can afford to take their family to a professional game anymore? The rich. Some I have observed come in the middle of the game and leave shortly thereafter. Must be nice to have all that money. As Arthur would say "It doesn't suck". Soccer?Yuck

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  21. tjmorgan says:

    I don't understand how can you insult a fan base that is non existent?

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  22. OutlookAttachment says:

    Ever hear the expression "American as baseball?" What about "It's as American as capitalism?" Generally speaking, consumption defines the success of your product. If they don't want it, they don't want it. You don't blame the failure of the product on the market. Period. If you think a different city will pay more, go there. If you're a Rays fan and that leaves you hanging, do the financial math and decide whether or not to pack up and follow them.
    People act so terrified of socialism and so passionate for capitalism, but place professional sports above both.
    More people need to support baseball? Name one thousand people who were obligated to buy tickets but didn't. Name ten. Name one.

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  23. pjcfsu says:

    Well I AM a season ticket holder (82 games) and we bought our postseason tickets, last year I made 71 games this year I will end up with 53. There are my credentials.
    As a player - don't you DARE say it is embarrasing to play in front of your homefield crowd. This city (St. Petersburg - NOT TAMPA) has taken you in and made you a baseball hero with the children and fans of the Rays. We are busting our asses to get to your games, and if we can't, look at the TV ratings, we are watching you no matter what.
    This is a total shakedown from ownership for more money and a stadium, as soon as we build a new one they will sell the team. I don't blame them but they will. And the media/fans/business owners are all buying in, and now the players??????

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  24. unicornkelly says:

    Well lets see i am a big RAYS FAN...and my husband coasches a little league team and every season we pick the rays as our team name...But right now we are a one income family and guess what the bills have to be payed first and oh yea buying food is a pretty big deal n our house so going to a game is just not in the buget for us so players really need to think about what they say and when before they say it...or do they forget how much money they get payed to play unlike us that don't get that pay check. I for one would love to have season tickets to the games but for now i watch on tv and thast is the way i have to support the team i love so much....

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  25. james says:

    If you're so concerned about attendance then instead of being worried about how many millions of dollars you get you need to shut up and play a game. Why don't you pay my mortgage and clothing for my girls and I'll be first in line for season tickets. Till then shutup and play ball. The fans will come but our families come first. I love the rays but you are starting to sound like your entitled. Try a real job with no economy then you'll get my sympathy. None of them have ever worried about a real job in their lives. You are pissing off your fans instead of helping.

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  26. The Shadow says:

    You have got to be kidding me!!! These pampered little p------ sit around all day waiting to go out and PLAY while getting paid millions of dollars, and all they can do is cry about the number of people watching THEM. As far as I am concerned, they suck it in and drive their spanking new sports cars to the Bank and keep their mouths shut!!!
    People in THIS country are starving and being forced out of their homes, and all these pampered little sissy-boys have time for is to complain. BOO-HOO, Boo-Hoo, poor little ole me, woe is me, woe is me. My ego isn't being stroked often enough.

    The Shadow

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  27. Old Salt says:

    It all boils down to an old analogy: it is morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money. I grew up in, and lived most of my adult life in, the Cincinnati area. I raised three sons there and we went to Reds games on a fairly regular basis. The tickets were inexpensive and the food was actually pretty good and not too pricey (a lemon ice for $1). (I recall having to tell my youngest son on his first time there that the objective was not to get something else to eat every inning.) The parking was $5, directly under the stadium and you could take an escalator part of the way up. And... the Reds usually fielded a good team when we were there. Then we moved to Melbourne, FL and went to see the Manatees (single A) play. As a former little league coach, I was embarrassed for the team. We actually saw a batter knock himself out by swinging at an inside pitch and chipping the ball off the handle directly into his forehead. We never went again. They play was horrendous, as was the expensive food ($5 for a plain, greasy hamburger; no cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles. Ketchup and mustard only.). The "parking" was an unmowed field close (1/8 mile) to the stadium and was $6, versus the $5 I was used to paying to park in a paved, covered area, close to the stadium to watch a professional team play.

    Point is: let the customer beware. If you're willing to pay exhorbitant prices to go and watch players with sky-high paychecks and super-inflated egos, then you have no reason to complain. You've contributed to their rediculous salaries and attitudes, and the prices you pay at the stadium by continueing to go. Someone earlier posted about GM, Chrysler, etc., losing business. When sales go down, the prices will follow.

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    • Beth says:

      I don't see your point. The Rays are nothing like the A team you didn't like watching. Adjusted for inflation, they are actually more like the Reds, except for the good food (but as mentioned above, you can bring you own food).

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  28. REAL BASEBALL FAN says:

    Stop your whining. There is a recession everywhere. Somehow all these other playoff teams are packing their stadiums. The fan base in Tampa Bay is horrible. The team needs to be moved. There are a lot better options out there. Fans go to games. If you want to be a Rays fan from home, you can do that when they play in another city. If you want to be taken seriously and keep your team, get out to the games people. It's that simple. Sitting around and crying about how you don't have a job at 3pm on a Tuesday doesn't have me thinking you're looking very hard for one in the first place. Just my 2 cents. have a nice day!

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    • Seminole Steve says:

      First I have been to at least 15 games this year am going tonight and will cheer them til the bitter end -- but your comment that the "other playoff teams" are packing the stadiums is not true -- have you watched a recent braves or padres home game game?? Yet we dont hear ESPN bashing the fans every morning or describing the game as being played in front of just 15,000 fans -- give me a break -- if you can go go if you cant go cheer how you can -- If your one of the few in the stands make up for it my being enthusiastic and loud -- GO RAYS !

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    • Seminole Steve says:

      Oh and by the way have not paid full price for one ticket this year average $3.oo on stub hub and can sit where i want as close as 5 rows back from the field so please dont sell out so i can continue to go to the games so cheap (sarcasm of course)

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      • REAL BASEBALL FAN says:

        I'm talking about good teams. The Padre's shouldn't be where they are. they suck. And I'm pretty damn sure the Braves pull more than 15k a night.

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  29. Gary says:

    The complaints from Longoria and Price about the lack of fans is a miserable example of the difference between the "haves" and the "have nots" in this country. The US now has the largest disparity between the poor and the rich. Any MLB player who wants fans in the stands should donate part of his (MLB minimum salary is > $400,000) salary to buying tickets for the unemployed/scared/newly homeless people who would love the distraction of watching a ballgame vs. avoiding the debt collectors and watching their chldren go without the fun childhood they should have.

    These 2 punks need to be slapped down like the pansies they are.

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    • REAL BASEBALL FAN says:

      I'd love to be there when you tried this Gary. Not only would you receive the beating of your life. You'd also end up behind bars. But like I said, it would be fun to watch.

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  30. Gary says:

    Here's a clue for Longoria and Price....

    Try getting a real job!!

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  31. Duane says:

    SD Padres fan here; we are getting (some) criticism from (some) players for the same lament: "why aren't the seats filled? we're in a pennant race!"

    Reading the comments from Tampa-area fans, I hear an echo from this side of the country. No single reason, of course. San Diego has a nice ballpark (poor location, however), reasonable weather, but PLENTY of other things to do besides watch 82 games of baseball. Management did lower prices this year, but that isn't the REAL cost of attending a MLB game. TV/Radio ratings are up ... attendance is up over a thousand a game ... but we're not selling out.

    I'd love for teams / league owners AND players to ASK fans why they don't get to the ballpark in greater numbers. They'd get an earful. But before they turn to the fans, perhaps the players and owners should talk together first ... it might prove just as insightful for them to learn that they are their greatest enemies in terms of profitability and the willingness of fans to attend their games.

    You'd never know the country was in a recession with salaries climbing along with operational expenses.

    Minimum Salary: According to the MLB collective bargaining agreement in place during the 2010 season, the minimum salary a Major League Baseball player can earn is $400,000 per year. This is exactly the same amount of money that the president of the United States will make in 2010.

    Largest Contract: As of 2010, the MLB Players Association has no maximum contract amount. Before the 2008 season, Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $275 million contract with the New York Yankees. This is the largest contract in all American sports.

    Average MLB Salary: According to the CBS Sports website, the average MLB salary for 2010 is $3,297,828. This is almost six times the average salary for an MLB player during the 1990 season.

    eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7169055_average-salary-baseball-player_.html#ixzz10rn0rKxW

    Adopt a fan-friendly business model: Scrap the CBA ... institute a salary cap and more equitable revenue sharing plan ... knock down those absurd salaries (how about pay-for-performance/incentives rather than guaranteed contracts based on PAST performance?) Once those expenses are under control, then pass the savings onto the fans. Never happen, but at least you have a business model that might work.

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  32. Reef42 says:

    Seriously?! Are you guys really attempting to validate your points, as to why the stands aren't packed and hard-earned (50+hours a week) paychecks aren't being spent to watch a bunch of millionaires at recess? Wow!

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  33. Robo Cop says:

    All I can say is, the Tigers have been spiraling downward since the All Star break - they were eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, fighting just to finish at .500. Detroit's economy is one of the worst in the nation, jobs are scarce, housing values are six feet under... and yet they passed 2.5 million in season attendance AND last weekend averaged 30,000 per game. In 2008, they finished with over 3 million in attendance while the team finished in LAST PLACE. So yeah, 12,000 showing up for a team with talent on par with the Yankees about to clinch a playoff spot... hate to say it, but the spoiled rich players were right. That is embarrassing.

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  34. Yankiller says:

    Its simple Mr. Millionaire. If you want fans to cheer your superior abilities to hit and field, if you want to endear them to you, make an unselfish gesture. Buy all the unsold tickets. Give them to anyone that wants to watch you play as a 'thank you' for your support. The only ones you'll hurt are Stubhub and any other scalper.

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