749110506046_Rays_at_Orioles1Yesterday it was reported in multiple outlets that Michael Kalt of the Rays compared the Tropicana Field population base to that of a minor league ballclub, noting that it is smaller than “eight AAA clubs.”

The Rays have clarified Kalt’s comments. We have been told that he was referring specifically to minor league clubs “in markets without MLB.” They list those cities as Las Vegas, Charlotte, Indianapolis, West Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Louisville, Norfolk, and Nashville.

This list is still questionable and troublesome.

You can argue that many of these cities are “big league markets,” but don’t have big league teams for various reasons. Vegas is never getting an MLB team because of the sportsbooks. Both West Sacramento (Oakland), and Louisville (Cincinnati) are within 100 miles of big league teams. Indianapolis is only 115 miles from Cincinnati.

That leaves Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Norfolk, and Nashville. Three of these cities already have pro sports teams. And these cities also happen to be four cities that are regularly mentioned as possible moving points for the Rays.

Again, this is not meant to downplay the significance of the Trop’s population base. It’s bad. But saying it is dead-last by a wide margin among Major League teams should be sufficient. And comparing it to the cities listed above makes it sound like some secretly wonder if one of those locations would be a better home for the Rays.

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7 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Kalt is an idiot. Ask anybody from NYC assoicated with his work in the Bronx.

    The Tampa Bay area got the team because it is the 14th largest TV market in the US.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/08/31/nielsen-local-television-market-universe-estimates-for-2012-13/146976/

    Since expansion, live attendance has decreased in importance in baseball finance as baseball becomes a TV programming sport. Find where those other are on the list. 2.8M people in Ok. City/Charlotte is worth a whole lot less than 1.8M in Tampa Bay because of the TV eyeballs and the low overhead of the Trop.

    Getting the optimum stadium in the optimum location barely moves the needle for this franchise overall bottom line. (The Rays' comments that 33% of their fans live in Hills and 25% live in Pinellas mean that you are only looking at incremental attendance increases in a perfect Hillsborough location, not to mention increased costs associated with the Rays kicking in on the new stadium).

    The whole thing is stupid. Somebody in MLB has to finish last in attendance every year. It figures that the franchise (a) purchased for the lowest valuation (b) with the lowest surrounding population in (c) one of the oldest MLB stadiums with (d) an owner contemplating vaporizing the franchise after a tough 2011 playoff loss (e) with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball would be the one to finish last in some years. I'd bet the Marlins (who don't have (b), (c) and (d)) will be there this year.

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    • Beazy says:

      "Tampa Bay area got the team because it is the 14th largest TV market", and 2 in the top 20, and 3 in the top 50 if you include Jax...

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  2. LaneMeyer says:

    Thanks for Cal-rifying

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  3. Beazy says:

    Jacksonville, El Paso, Memphis, Louisville, etc.. But, I said it for years, the Rays needs Tampa to fix it's attendance, St. Pete is 77th in ranks of US cities pop. and declining, while Tampa is 53rd and climbing w/ "boomtowns" within a 20 radius like Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, etc.. The Trop has the least amount of people w/in a 30 min. drive in baseball, and St. Pete might be one of smallest cities w/a pro team, only bigger then Green Bay or Salt Lake City...

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  4. Joe says:

    I don't get what the big secret is here, Stu Sternberg said that there were five better cities that didn't have baseball than Tampa Bay. He said it, and he believed it. Again, where is the pushback?

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  5. Don says:

    Sell Stuie, Sell to a baseball Executive or an outside sportsman looking just to own a "sports" franchise, I would bet anything they would stay in St. pete,& the trop...10 yrs from now..who knows...over& over Location of your stadium is NOT the problem..it is looking more& more like YOU are stuie...

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  6. Kurt Smith says:

    What, exactly, are the Rays trying to do? Get the area to fund a new ballpark? Cite reasons why they should move to another city? Give reasons to get out of the contract?

    They agreed when they came to TB that they would play in Tropicana Field until 2027. If they didn't put any contingencies for attendance in the contract that's their problem.

    Forgive me if I'm missing something here, honestly. I don't understand why they have such a problem living with what they've got. The Trop may not be the best venue, but it's a perfectly adequate place to see a game especially on a brutally hot day.

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