Did you hear the joke about how four fans walked into The Trop to watch a Rays game and nobody else was there! Oh, that one kills us every time! Or how about the joke about the Rays latest giveaway promotion: a foul ball for every fan! That one always makes us ell-oh-ell.
According to a large portion of the national media, there were about 12 people at The Trop last night to watch the Rays beat the Yankees and grab a share of the Wild Card lead.
And all we can do is yawn.
Rays attendance is bad. No doubt about it. And if you ask 14 different people why the attendance is bad, you will get 38 different answers. And all of them are right. But according to the talking heads, the only reason attendance is bad is because we suck as fans.
And the bad attendance makes us, the fans, the butt of unoriginal and tiring jokes. It can be frustrating.
But really, why should we care? The jokes are old and unoriginal. They require no thought or creativity. They are lame. And every time some pink hat-wearing fan, or talking head on the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader” cracks a joke about attendance it is because they can’t find anything original to say or anything negative to say about the team.
Sure we could point out that the Red Sox won 92 games in 1998, made the playoffs, and finished 9th in the American League in attendance. And that was in a good economy. Sure we could point to the time in the 80s and early 90s when New York was a Mets town and the Yankees couldn’t give tickets away.
But who cares. Every team has had attendance problems. And the only reason people care about the Rays attendance right now is because the team is good. We’d rather have the lame attendance jokes, than the lame “Devil Rays suck” jokes.
So we will take this bullet. We will ignore the ignorance. And maybe, just maybe, it will mean a little less pressure on the Rays.