Last week, rumors spread like wildfire that Nashville wanted to poach the Rays from the Tampa Bay area. But after we showed that this was just a silly joke gone mad, we thought we had heard the end. Not if Jeff Wilson has anything to say about it.
Wilson is a columnist for the Dallas Star-Telegram, and he decided this was a great opportunity to devote an entire column to crap all over Tampa and St. Pete…
There’s a lesson to be learned, courtesy of the honorable [Nashville Mayor] Mr. Dean . Don’t joke about the Rays bolting town, because it doesn’t take a giant leap of faith to see that happening…Baseball remains on life support in Tampa/St. Petersburg, and there are no guarantees that it can survive…The franchise has been plagued by rotten attendance for years and plays in a lousy ballpark. Despite the Rays being the defending American League East champions and a 74-win team entering Saturday, they have the 13th-worst (sic) attendance in the 14-team league…A move north (sic) to Tampa would likely help, but a move north to, say, Nashville might end up being in the best interests of the franchise…[David] Price, a Nashville-area native and former Vanderbilt star, has no doubt that his hometown is a baseball town…It wouldn’t take much to be better than Tampa-St. Pete.
Actually, it would take much. That “much” being something that 99.9 percent of the cities in this country don’t have, including Nashville.
As Noah Pransky pointed out, a recent study ranked the top 59 markets without a baseball team and their prospects for supporting a big league franchise. Nashville came in 56th just behind Winnipeg, a city that has snow on the ground in August.
But hey, why would a Dallas columnist let research or little things like “facts” get in the way of a last-second story idea trying to fill his weekly quota.