Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Friday, October 04, 2013
Go to Tampa. The city walks around in Rays gear and talks about the team the way they did with the Bucs in the early 2000′s. The Rays are one of the goofiest and consistently most fun to watch teams playing, and fans embrace it with open arms. The fans being a lot more people than make the trek out to the Trop regularly. Look at the TV ratings. In 2010, despite attendance at the Trop, the Rays had the 5th highest local TV ratings in the majors. This year the TV market has remained strong as well.
There’s also this notion that the Rays are at a disadvantage in the Trop and better on the road. This year the Rays were 51-30 at the Trop. For comparison, the Red Sox were 53-28 at Fenway. So I guess the difference between Fenway’s homefield advantage unlike anything else in the history of baseball and the Trop’s thank God they don’t have to play there does it even count as a homefield is TWO GAMES. Right before this (undeniably incredible) road trip began, the Rays swept the Orioles in a 4-game series that was… at home. So let’s stop pretending like the Rays have been winning mostly on the road because baseball fans can actually appreciate them there. Wake up.
Are the Rays attendance figures pathetic? Absolutely. No question. It hurts every time I see so many empty seats in the Trop. But the problem is the Trop, not the fans, and most certainly not the Rays organization. Deep into St. Petersburg, it’s a giant pain to get there from most places in the Tampa Bay area (where 4.3 million people live, by the way). And clearly, it leaves much to be desired once you’re there. It’s the place where somebody got hit with a stray bullet while trying to enjoy a game.
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