First it was Carl Crawford, now it is Matt Garza’s turn. Garza was asked about the trade that sent him to the Cubs. And apparently that seemed like a good opportunity to give ESPN their sound-bite for the night…

“when you are drawing 12,000 and you’re in first place in the East, it is kinda rough to picture yourself there the following season.”

So it is not bad enough that the Rays lost all of these players. But apparently these guys decided to take a dump on Raysheads on the way out the door.

Has anybody asked Jason Bartlett about “American Idol” yet? Certainly that question will serve as good excuse for Bartlett to bash the Rays fan base.

 
 

45 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Only difference being these guys (CC & Garza) are gone and are even classified as “the enemy” by our own fans…
    When Price & Longo oppened their mouths they were employed, and still are… by the Rays……Big difference!

  2. Charles says:

    Wheeler got interviewed by the news radio station up here and he mentioned the attendance too, though his mention was just more in passing and not specifically calling it out.

    Has any reporter asked these guys how they might think they’ll contribute to their NEW teams yet, or do we still have months of beating the dead horse “journalism” yet to come?

  3. Bill says:

    Garza wore ear plugs when the crowd got too distracting… Good luck dude.

  4. Houston says:

    Gag me… complaining about attendance is so 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009… Get over it, Tampa.

  5. Sublime says:

    A Michael Irvin moment I want everyone that bashed Crawford to bash Garza with, the “Same Intensity, Same Intensity”

    To paraphrase some from yesterday when speaking about Crawford, I guess Garza is just ignorant and doesn’t get it either!

    If you’re a season ticket holder he’s not talking to you, he’s talking to everyone else.

  6. nate says:

    What part of their comments is incorrect? The only surprise would be if they said they preferred the privacy of a stadium filled a quarter of the way. This matters how?

    • Mike G. says:

      I dont think anybody is claiming it is inaccuate. i think they are just upset at the dickishness of the statements. But since you brought it up, I will tell you that the statement, while technically true, is extremely misleading. The Rays did not average 12,000 fans per game. In fact, they only 3 games that small. On the other hand, they had 15 home games with at least 30000 and were either sellouts or near-sellouts. Is that great? No. But it is not as bad as he is making it sound.

  7. PaulcCov says:

    Sour grapes IMO .

  8. Blake says:

    I’m confused as to why the comments by Garza and CC are taken as such an offense to Rays fans. Why do we automatically assume they think we’re the ones completely at fault? The reason the Trop is rarely filled is due to a combination of circumstances (economy and location being the primary two). I really think Bay Area fans are becoming too sensitive and too easily upset. I’d be frustrated to play in front of small home crowds with that record, too, whether I knew I thought it meant the fans didn’t care or that they just couldn’t get out to the game. Often it seems to me that the local media latches on to things like this simply to stir the pot and drive up ratings/site-hits during times of slow traffic.

  9. Matt says:

    I don’t get what the big deal is. Of COURSE they players think this. WE all think it, so why shouldn’t they?

    The only reason we’re hearing about this now from Garza and Crawford is because they’re not on the team, so they no longer have the need to protect the team. They are just responding truthfully when asked.

    If you gave Longo, Price, and all other current Rays truth serum, they’d tell you the exact same thing.

    • angrybuddha says:

      **Exactly**, Matt…..

      When 100% of former players mention poor attendance as a negative, it’s a safe bet that the entire team was talking about it when it was going on…

      That is, they all bitched and moaned to one another and then went out and won 2 of 3 AL East titles anyway. Professionals.

      Longo and Price and BJ and Bringac are all taling about this… they just don’t have mikes when they do…

  10. nick says:

    Garza and Crawford are speaking the truth and very bluntly, yes. But, they don’t have to. Why go there? As fans, we loved them and supported them as much as we could. They are showing that they were out of touch with the area and what was going on economically. These comments can’t do any good. I know they are being baited, like Carl, by opposing fans just to talk smack, but they could opt out of the question.

    • Sarah says:

      Exactly, Nick. First, it’s not entirely true – as an earlier poster pointed out, 12,000 attendance was the exception, not the norm. Secondly, even if their statements have some truth to them, what gain is it to the players to reinforce these stereotypes around the sports world that Rays fans are lame? Are you obligated to tell your dinner host that the steak was overcooked?

    • Andy says:

      No, they are grossly over-exaggerating. Crawford especially, with his whole ‘it was depressing to come back from a road trip where we beat bostn and new york,’ line. That flat out, never happened.

  11. RivalsTees says:

    Good for Garza. He gets to play in front of great fans, and for a mediocre team/front office. Instead of the opposite. I hope he goes Kazmir.

    Btw, did anyone see the advertising wrap on the tbt? Can someone show it to the Rays “marketing department”?

  12. The Dude says:

    in 2010 the Rays average attendance per game was 22,758 fans…in spite of having a stadium that had the highest percentage of any major league city in terms of its live and work population over 30 minutes away. During his 3 years with the team that led the AL East – Matt was 34-31. Those are the facts.

  13. Thadw says:

    Well, I think…..ahhh, I just don’t have the energy anymore….new stadium + new location = more fans….period….on to baseball.

  14. John says:

    You won’t see anything from Garza, since he will still have 12K games in San Diego.

  15. I’m starting to wonder if they’re being bribed with money to dump on their old team like this.

  16. Steve says:

    Can somebody please ask the players the next time they bring something like this up whether they have ever purchased tickets to a major league baseball game? Neither the sports commentators, the owners, nor the players have a clue about what it means to actually have to spend money to go to a game and since the players generally have the maturity of a 16 year they wouldn’t understand that real people actually have to make choices, with family, with jobs, etc., before they shell out the cash to attend 81 home games. And gee whiz I wonder if the population imbalance between Chicago, Boston and St. Pete, has anything to do with average attendance? These guys act like total jackasses and as for Garza and Crawford you guys are going to miss having fans who actually appreciated you instead of crucifying you for every mistake and inconsistency. There aren’t ear plugs big enough to get Matt Garza through the long hot summers at Wrigley field! And I can hard wait for Bob Ryan to confront the surly Carl Crawford – - should be awesome.

    • Beth says:

      The thing is, most of these guys grew up in working class families. So even if they live lives of privilege now, how hard is it to remember back just 10 years and think what it meant for one of their families to get to a baseball game — what it meant to spend $100 or to drive 30 miles or take off from work or whatever sacrifice is involved. Did they all grow up in families that were season ticket holders, or can they muster up some memory of what it’s like to be a regular person with a job and a car payment?

      • Andy says:

        I don’t know if that’s true anymore. Baseball has increasingly become a rich kids sport, due in part to bat technology advances, competition from other sports, and a host of other factors. Its far more common to see a ‘Junior’ in baseball perform at a high level than in other sports, and it can’t all be attributed to genetics. I mean, would a guy like Casey Kotchman have ever made the pros if his dad weren’t running a baseball academy? Or what about Mike Piazza, and the way he was drafted by his godfather Tommy Lasorda?

        • Beth says:

          But when you look at the backgrounds of our biggest whiners — Crawford, Garza, and last year Longoria and Price – these aren’t guys with any kind of privileged backgrounds.

  17. Gus says:

    I think management tells the soon to be ex-players — “we’d love to keep you, but the fan support won’t support your salary.” The players, disappointed to leave a good team and a nice area, spit that back out. The players are too stupid to critically think through that and say, wait a minute: Isn’t it your job Mr. Owner to have the building more full, to sell season tickets? And, why is $73M an okay payroll for a team like the Royals but not okay for a team like the Rays?

    The $42M payroll coming off that season of attendance (and the last 3 seasons) is a complete disgrace.

  18. robert says:

    I wouldn’t worry about what Crawford said or what Garza said. I would worry about what Longoria and Price say when they’re leaving. Forget contracts, this is getting tiresome. More people show up to go ice fishing than to watch this team. Sure, I’m commenting from afar and don’t live in Tampa but let’s face the facts- it isn’t a baseball town. Some of the best young players in the game have languished there playing to empty seats for too long. Time to either show up or shut up.

    • Beth says:

      Well, the Rays don’t play in Tampa so it doesn’t much matter if Tampa is a baseball town. And you are right, if you are commenting from afar you really don’t have much to add to this discussion.

      • robert says:

        I know where they play. And actually watch more of their games than most people. That being said, go ahead and be defensive, it doesn’t change a thing but try going to a game in Yankee Stadium or Fenway– there are actually people there. They make noise, they buy the Merch, eat hot dogs, drink the beer… Teams feed off the energy, front offices feed off the cash. You know, funny thing, I bet if you asked any player where they preferred to play: either Fenway or the Trop, you would be surprised at their answers. But be defensive, and when the league finally steps in (hello Montreal) and takes the team at the very least you knew where they used to play! Not in Tampa…

        • Gus says:

          Rays finished 21st in attendance last year with the 22nd payroll. Where is the problem, exactly?

          Go beat on the Reds or San Diego while you are at.

          Live gate is a smaller (and get smaller porportionally) sliver in the revenue pie of the Yankees and Boston and the other “big market” clubs. TV revenue is where the money is now, and where the money of the sport is going. The sooner baseball reshapes its revenue sharing to reflect this reality, the better off it will be. (The highest rated Super Bowl of all time featured a team from a crap hole Wisconisn town and a dead steel town; Tampa Bay ain’t the problem. The revenue sharing is the problem)

  19. Joe says:

    Where the HECK is Stu Sternberg?! Why is he not going to defend himself, his fans, HIS INVESTMENT?! The more these players speak, how the heck are the Rays going to keep ANYONE?! You think Longoria and Price are chomping at the bit to leave?! Why can’t the owner and team president PROTECT their investment and profess their love! WHY! Where is the tact?!

  20. Leanne Gra says:

    In ’08, Florida was deep in the economic collapse that was just hitting the country and the world hard. Perhaps at that time, people weren’t think the “Next ‘Great Depression’”. But the Rays Front Office (and MLB) had a choice facing them. That choice being, what to do with the expiring television agreement. The decision they made (taking a far below market deal revenue-wise in exchange for tremendous coverage of nearly every Rays game) indicates that they expected the economy to hit them hard at the Gate. That is unless there is someone out there who believes that they thought that more people would pay for tickets but more people would NOT turn on the TV. Good luck selling that one to anyone who is absent an agenda.

    Early in the ’10 Season, Stu took a simple, reasonable position: he wanted to see attendance rise or the Organization would have to examine things such as a payroll cut. When pressed on numbers, he indicated that something like 2000-3000 more fans/game would be good to see. That works out to less than $5Million/Year; so those who say it’s about money, I think, are chasing down the wrong alley.

    The National Bash began immediately after Bud Selig weighed in. All around Park Avenue the tone is that Bud is concerned about what his legacy as Commish will be. Face it…his resume’ doesn’t look too shiny right now, particularly with the possibility of more labor issues marking a Bookend on his tenure, with steroids in between. Revamping The Trop is the last major hole, assuming the A’s know the way to San Jose.

    Attendance was rising right up until the Build it or we might grab our bats and balls and leave town (MLB-101 “negotiating tactics, lest those here before the awarding of a franchise forget; as the baseball gods smile at the symmetry). I did not get around to matching the ’10 schedule against the ’09 schedule. But attendance was up an average of over 800/game and nicking 1000 at the time of the announcement on a fairly steady climb…so I don’t think it was based on schedule anomalies

    Immediately after that “Major Announcement” the climb stopped dead and began to slowly reverse. When the National Rays Fan Bash began, it began to fall, settling back at roughly ’09 numbers…which still outstripped the League overall…both in attendance and media listenership/vieweship.

  21. Joe says:

    No, not yawn…I am not yawning…There needs to be a change and change NOW in tact, direction and stewardship!! Why are players mouthing off and disliking their experience here?! You think Longo and Price want out quicker than a New York second? How is this fun?! We can’t sign any free agents unless they are retreads, castoffs or last gasps?! What kind of “fun” is that. If you don’t read Baseball America or Baseball Digest,what fun is it?! The fans are being pinched and marginalized by this carpetbagger owner while his former players mouth off, HE SAYS NOTHING!!! FREAKING NOTHING!!! If Stu Sternberg had the fortitude and guts and truly loved us, HE WOULD SPEAK AND DEFEND THE HONOR!!! WHY NOT STU!!

  22. Jason W says:

    I don’t blame these players for saying this, I blame them for waiting till they got away from this team like pussies to say this. Grow a pair and say it while you are here just like Kazmir, Price, and Longo did.

    • Joe says:

      Either way, what does it get you?! Why can’t these players accept the experience, have fun, KNOW THE AREA and know they are being supported?! Be encouraging without slapping the fans down, there is tact and courtesy, but NO ONE IS SHOWING IT!!! The main stream local TB media and the ownership in the club are COMPLICIT in making the freaking fans feel bad. Hey, I am not saying that attendance does lag, but there are more creative ways to get fans in the damn seats!!! Again, why doesn’t Stu profess his love and admit his loyalty to the fans?!

  23. David Bloom says:

    I see from the comments that people are viewing Garza and Crawford’s statements as adding to long line of national media bias against the Rays. I see their comments as people who do not have the media smarts to complement where you last were and movee ono your next conquest. There are players like Qualls and Pena who had nothing but good things to say. Guess it goes back to saying unless you have nothing good to say then say nothing. As far as Stu he really is disassociaed from team other then determing payroll. I focus on what Friedman says. There are plenty of uninformed media people who will focus on the sound bites and never understand whole picture. There are problems like this is media markets like with Marlins, Pirates, and others. Don’t get too upset over these comments. I read somwwhere Carl never spoke much but when he does there is no filter. Like his heart is in Boston. What a joke. It was about the cash always as he worked hard to get to point for a big payday.

    • Joe says:

      Well said and thanks…You said it, the wrong people that need to be associated are disassociated. Just another dig at the area.

  24. Kelsey says:

    After reading that whole article that quote does not really show what Garza was saying. He just meant he kinda expected a trade was going to come when youre in a smaller market team…. this is the paragraph of that quote….

    ***”I knew something like this was going to happen based off the market size of Tampa. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t small,” Garza said. “When you’re drawing 12,000 and you’re in first place in the East, it’s kind of rough to picture yourself there the following season. I knew this day was coming.”***

    I would not call that bashing the Rays. Get it straight people.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      But the Rays don’t draw 12,000. They draw a lot more than that. We just want Garza to “get it straight.”

      • Kelsey says:

        That is true… I do not think Garza was out to bash the Rays but we do draw more than that and when all the players keep saying such low numbers like that it just gives ESPN and other people more bad things to say about the Rays.. I guess I also am just trying to give Garza and Crawford the benefit of the doubt… Gonna miss them and still think of them as stand-up guys and players.

  25. Joe says:

    Something to bring up, are we too sensitive to this? I don’t know. It’s like a feeding frenzy on these type of comments. I am coming from the point of view as you just said, others have reason and more ammunition to talk bad about the team and players, and when you rip at pride, then why should players here be excited?! People get mad at me for harping on things like the road uniforms, but they are symbolic of what I believe that while players go, the colors stay the same and WHERE YOU REPRESENT is also important.

    Garza and Carl are good guys, Garza was a victim of the arbitration system, and Carl got his major payday. But I agree with Cork that Garza does need to get is straight and not necessaily take his Tampa Bay experience for granted. I don’t begrudge them rather I begrudge the process, part of which the owner has manifested and created. But I know I said my peace, but someone, its a plea from me, has to step up, besides JP Peterson who I respect, has to defend this area, for better or worse to the nation and unfortunately LOCALLY! This process involving fan ripping and reverse psychology just plays into the owners hands in this inane stadium debate.

    I just can’t help but to think Stu in a sinister way is trying to tie this conversation in to get his stadium out of it. Sorry for using the word sinister, but anything not to be painted as the bad guy, right?

    • Beth says:

      We are sensitive on this topic, but it’s not because we are unaware of Rays comparatively low attendance, or even because are unwilling to have a reasonable conversation about this. We are sensitive because the national sports media (and indeed the local, who should know better) seem to have one Rays story line. No, it’s not wise draft choices or smart trades; it’s not impressive division championships with a small payroll; there is exactly one Rays story line and it is this: No one shows up at Tropicana Field! The Rays have no fans! “Tampa” is not a baseball town!!

      I’ve always assumed that this is the story that gets stuck, like a scratched record, in the national media because they lack the imagination to write/talk about anything else.

      But I assumed that the guys who actually played here knew the real story. That for every “12,000″ crowd there were two 30,000 crowds. That the fans who came cheered enthusiastically (and indeed, in recent years, even Red Sox and Yankees games featured louder cheers for the home team); that the fans who couldn’t afford to come to games still died their hair blue and bought Longoria t-shirts.

      In short, I would hope that the guys who actually play here will, like Pena, leave with the real story — loyal fans who support their team. But apparently Garza and Crawford feel there’s more mileage in repeating the tired trope that the Rays have no fans. Shame on them.

  26. tbdudette says:

    All these guys need a remedial math class. If they want to bitch and moan about attendance, fine,…..but bitch and moan about 22k, not 12k.

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