Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune spoke with Stuart Sternberg about the Rays season so far (“our bullpen has been a pleasant surprise.”), about Joe Maddon (“We get guys who leave here and aren’t as successful…We bring new guys to the Rays and they are a little more successful than they’ve been.”) and of course attendance (emphasis ours)…
“It is what it is…It could be better and should be better. I know we can’t sustain ourselves like this. It hasn’t gotten better. If anything, it’s worse. We had another successful year last season and the economy, while it’s not good, has not gotten worse, but our numbers I think will be down, coming off a postseason appearance. It’s unheard of…People are watching us on TV and listening on the radio. I walk around and I see all the hats. I want to have a team that’s going to be able to compete, but we can’t lose money year in and year out, hand over fist…To run a payroll like we do now, basically the second-lowest in baseball, and barely keep our nose above water, we can’t sustain that.”
Well…we don’t know if there is anything left to say. Is he right? Probably. Are the finances as bad as he says they are? Maybe. Is it depressing to hear the owner talk in such a negative fashion? Yep. Are people going to go to more games just because Sternberg says Doomesday is coming? We doubt it.
The Rays are drawing just 17,954 per game which 29th in baseball, ahead of just the Marlins. Attendance is also down 19 percent from a year ago.