The Rays have an attendance problem. The Rays may even be having a TV ratings problem. And of course the national media is unable to create an original thought, so all they do is bash the Rays, their stadium, and the fans, any chance they can get.
And who defends the Rays, and their stadium? The fans do. But why should we continue to fight the talking heads and fans of every other team in baseball, if the front office won’t defend them (or us). And especially if Joe Maddon is just going to agree with what the national media is saying?
Asked about criticism of Tropicana Field by ESPN broadcaster John Kruk and others, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon joined the chorus…”He’s right. We do need a new ballpark. He’s absolutely right. And he’s right, this ballpark is improper for Major League Baseball. He’s right. I can’t deny that…You shouldn’t play with all these obstructions [ed. note: you mean like the ivy at Wrigley, or the ladder on the Monster, or the hill at Minute Maid, or...you get the point], and all these caveats. Of course not. It’s runs it’s course. It was here for a moment. It served it’s purpose. And now it’s time to move on. Absolutely it is. And to deny that, everybody has just got their head in the sand, period.
This is the same guy that would find a way to praise Elliot Johnson even if he literally pooped his pants in the 9th inning while trying to lay down a bunt only to hit himself in the face with the bat. And yet, when the franchise and the stadium need defending, he is right there with the resident genius John Kruk, the guy that inferred the Trop was unsafe by saying he wouldn’t want to be in that building if it was struck by lightning.
Mayor Bill Foster responded, and for the first time, we are starting to warm up to his side…
I’ve always been one to look at the regional approach when it comes to attract fans to Tropicana Field. But the region didn’t build Tropicana Fied. It was the people of Pinellas County who built Tropicana Field. So right now I am only concerned with their interests and protecting their investments…They have 15 years left on their lease agreement … so yeah, I’m holding on pretty tightly. If they want to look at sites within Pinellas County, I’m all for that.”
There is a real problem here. OK, there are a lot of real problems here. But the newest problem is that for some reason, Maddon has become the voice of the Rays on the stadium issue.
Maybe it is because the Rays limit access to those in the front office. And maybe it is because the Rays front office believes in saying nothing whenever possible. And maybe it is because Maddon has to face the media everyday.
But there is something messed up about the manager of the team constantly commenting on happenings outside the white lines.
We love you Joe. We really do. But please just shut up for once.