Following the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-0 loss at home to the Baltimore Orioles – a game where the Rays could have clinched a playoff spot (UPDATE – The Rays clinched a playoff spot tonight, 9/28, with a 5-0 win over Baltimore) – Evan Longoria expressed what he justifiably feels. Longoria, along with teammate David Price, both said that the lack of fans at Rays home games – especially now that the Rays are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth – is “embarrassing.”
Here’s what Longoria had to say about the attendance at Rays games:
“We’ve been playing great baseball all year. Since I’ve been here in , the fans have wanted a good baseball team. They’ve wanted to watch a contender,” Longoria told reporters. “And for us to play good baseball for three years now, and for us to be in a spot to clinch again and go to the playoffs, we’re all confused as to why it’s only 15,000 to 20,000 in the building.”
David Price echoed this sentiment via his Twitter account:
“Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands….embarrassing.”
Some people (*cough*-Buster Olney-*cough*) are criticizing Longoria and Price for sharing these feelings, but honestly, they have every right to be pissed off. This is one of the best teams in baseball with a ton of young talent, and the majority of people in Tampa Bay couldn’t care less about them. Longoria later added that he was just trying to “rally the troops” and that he wants more people to celebrate with. Is it really so much for a 94-63 team to be asking for more than 20,000 fans at its September games?
Yes, their ballpark is terrible, and apparently it is not easily accessible, but in all fairness, a pennant-chasing team in September should be getting just a few more fans. Come on!
With all of this being said, it’s pretty clear that the Tampa area does not deserve a baseball team as good as the Rays. Is that a bit harsh? Maybe, but it’s truly a shame that this good young team can’t gain more of a following. A re-location or a new ballpark (if financially feasible) might be necessary. As Tony Kornheiser said on PTI earlier today, if the Rays played in New York, they’d have better attendance than the Mets!
In conclusion, GO YANKEES!