Jake OdorizziJake Odorizzi was a guest on MLB Network’s “High Heat” on Friday and, of course, attendance was brought up when he was asked how tough it is to play in front of such small crowds when the team is playing well.

Instead of whining about how hard it is to make so much money and stay motivated to play a sport in front of only 15,000, something we have heard from players in the past, Odorizzi had a refreshing take on the subject.

“For us, it is nothing that we can control. I mean, we can’t do anything about coaxing people to come to the game. We’re happy for all the people who do come and we want to put on a good show. Because you don’t know, what if we do get 14,000 a game? It could be some one person’s first time at a ball game out of that 14,000. So, we want to go out there and do our best for whoever is in the stands, where we try our best regardless. It would be great if we got more people. But at the same time, we are thankful for the people that we have. And we just go out there and play our game regardless of how many people are attending.”

This is not the first time a Rays player has uttered similar sentiments and Odorizzi does admit that it would be better if there were more fans. But did you catch the subtle, but key difference? Odorizzi doesn’t start his answer with wishing for more fans. Rather, he starts with the simple notion of respecting the fans who do show up.

In the past, players have taken the opposite approach and often there was a considerable amount of time between the two points with the standard formula having been: 1) “the crowd is disappointing”; followed the next day by 2) “but we do appreciate the fans who do show up.”

Maybe Odorizzi just gets it. Or maybe the Rays are getting better about making sure the players don’t say the wrong thing. But it is nice to hear.

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2 Comments

  1. Sidney Levy says:

    We only value after loosing it...we fought so hard to bring Baseball to Tampa Bay.... I'm leaving in Europe for the last 6 years and only God knows how much I miss Tropicana Field.... Can't wait to get back....

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  2. Joe Dunn says:

    I love baseball and always have - - I also am a Rays fan and do NOT follow any other team. My thought is that when they surveyed this market decades ago with regard to interest in baseball they didnt take into consideration how many STUBBORN people that were born up north would still be rooting for THEIR old team, 30 years after they moved south.
    Far too many fans only go to the games in person when THEIR team is here. It is painfully obvious.
    Also, it has proven to be a less than ideal location..... and moving the stadium will help some, but it will undoubtedly cost more to attend games in the new digs so I dont expect an avg crowd of 20k any time soon.
    I also know that many folks are still reeling from the recession and just cannot justify spending the dough to go to many games in person....TV is too convenient!
    I like the Trop just fine and will be there on Opening Day (again) but will will continue to be mostly a Rays fan via TV and radio.
    And MEMO to various media types - - - it does not, never has and never will help get larger crowds by BITCHING about the size of the attendance. Save your breath.

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