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Selig to the Rays: don't improve Tropicana Field

Oct 11, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Bud Selig has instructed
Rays management “not to make significant financial investments in the
area until attendance indicators improve, suggesting the team could be
investing in potential relocation sites.” I’m assuming that means stadium improvements and the like.

I’d normally say something critical here, but it’s probably smart for Selig to say such a thing.  I don’t think there’s enough polish in the world to make Tropicana Field an enjoyable environment for baseball, and to the extent the Rays actually throw money at attempting to do so, it’s likely wasted money. And the Rays don’t have a ton of money to waste.

And I don’t have a problem with them relocating either. It’s a business. If they can’t make the business work where they are, they should be able to move it. Indeed, I wish there was more freedom of movement for baseball teams. If there was maybe we’d have another team in New Jersey or New England or Southern California, which would level the playing field a bit and force dumb businesspeople out of the baseball ownership game.

Ultimately, my beef is with using tax dollars for ballparks. Stay away from that sort of thing and anything else you do is pretty much your business.

(via Field of Schemes)

  1. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    There’s a nice chunk of open space right next to UConn’s football stadium. Hartford would take them.

  2. Mr. Heyward - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    bring the Whalers to baseball! best logo ever!

  3. Panda_Claus - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Selig knows that any improvement to the Trop likely involves the use of dynamite.

  4. Old Gator - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    I think the only way you could make that place look better would be to smother it in a huge gob of Freezone, cover it with an enormous tarp, and leave it that way until the tarp settles to the ground.

  5. avg joe - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    “Ultimately, my beef is with using tax dollars for ballparks. Stay away from that sort of thing and anything else you do is pretty much your business.”
    Kind of the point of relocation. If they can’t get tax money for a new stadium where they are, they will go somewhere else. People complain about subsidies for billionaires, but if they won’t pay up they face the very real chance that their team will leave. That’s just business, I guess.

  6. Matt S. - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    I can’t do anything better than those above me. Bravo, gentlemen.

  7. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    My Whalers had a great logo, but these are better:

  8. Ron Thompson - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    It’s appalling how much worse Tropicana Field has gotten since whatever idiot was in charge of major league baseball in the mid 1990s supported putting an expansion team there. Back then, I guess, it was a beautiful, well-sited outdoor park with natural grass. Unless the idea was to put a team there, let them struggle for a decade, then, when they got good for a few years, try to extort a new stadium from the community before payroll considerations led to breaking up the team. Hey, it worked with the Marlins!

  9. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Either that or about 500,000 gallons of Fast Orange and a sponge the size of Massachusetts.

  10. Pier588 - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    The Trop is an excellent ball park, anone that doesn’t like it hasn’t attended the large number of games down there that I have personally been to. And even better, its within blocks of my house. There has never been a rain out since the team played there and just ask the Miami Blowfish how not having AC and a roof has affected their attendance.
    Regardless of where the stadium location around the Bay area is – the attendance would be the same – down – as it is all across MLB. What makes the lack of attendance so devastating to current Rays ownership is their “stupidest in Major League Baseball” TV contract with Fox Sports. The Rays are very high when it comes to TV ratings but previous Rays ownership gave away the TV rights for nothing.
    Now new ownership insists on a new stadium and that the team is not viable here. Fine – build your new stadium with your own money. You aren’t going to get one built here – the Bay area tax payers are not going to go for anything like the deal in Miami. Bud Selig and Rays ownership are not going to be able to hoodwink the tax payers around Tampa Bay as they did in Miami; the Glazers already did that with Jesse James Stadium and Hillsbourgh county is still paying for the hockey arena as well.
    Stu Sternberg should learn not to put his finger in the eye of Bay area Rays fans every time he thinks the stadium doesn’t have enough fans attending. His comments about attendance always follow huge losses on the field which seems to be a trend as Longoria and Price both did the same thing after the Rays were blown out in front of 10,000 fans.
    If you have the mega-money to own a MLB team Stu – you need to pony up your own money to support that team and stop relying on the tax payers to foot the bill while the rich get a public stadium and get richer. Actually attending some Ray games yourself may help a bit too Stu – and stop being seen at all those basement dwelling Met games while your boys are off winning the AL East in St Pete.

  11. Jonny5 - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    ” because we will get the free money for you to build a new one anyway. Tax payers love paying for new stadiums so they can buy Jerseys for 100$ each, and 6 $ hot dogs.”

  12. lardin - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Not happening, There are three teams who claim Hartford as part of the territory.
    Use the Nationals as an example. DC used to be under Baltimore’s territory but in order to get a team to DC, MLB and the Nationals owners had to buy off Peter Angelos. Can you see MLB and The owner of the Rays, paying off the Wilpon family, the Steinbrenner family and Larry Luchinno? Not gonna happen.
    Take money out of the equation, why would the Rays want to move to an area where more than 90% of baseball fans already have an allegiance and have them for generations. The Hartford area is predominantly Yankees and Red Sox fans, with some Mets fans. It would be like the Whalers all over again fighting with Boston and New York for fan support.

  13. BCTF - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    They could relocate to Tampa Bay.

  14. Mr. Furious - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Bring ’em to Raleigh. Their AAA team is only a 15-30 minute drive away, and already plays in a significantly nicer ballpark than the Trop.

  15. Marty Winn - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Tampa Bay is a body of water, not a city. I’m guessing you mean Tampa. The Tampa Bay area includes St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa, and maybe Sarasota.
    I’ve also been to some 30-50 games at the Trop, including the first regular season game ever. I love it. It’s great to not have to worry about rainouts or weather at all. It’s always ~72 degrees. Parking, concessions, traffic are all fine, but suspect would get worse if they were drawing 35K instead of 15K. It’s not a destination park though. One would not say I’ve got to visit the Trop before I die like one might say about Fenway (Green Monster) and Wrigley (ivy). It’s nothing special on the inside or outside in terms of eye candy/appeal. But to sit there and watch a game day after day, all summer long. It’s great.
    That said not enough people show up. I don’t understand why. The most compelling argument is that people from Tampa don’t want to cross the bridge. Since 275 widened to 4 lanes each way instead of 2 the bridge is not a problem. But clearly the people are not coming. Maybe a new site is the answer. Something in Tampa. Maybe downtown. Maybe closer to the state fair location east of town to draw more from Orlando/Lakeland but I don’t know the stats. I assume you lose people from St. Pete/Clearwater, and maybe even parts of Sarasota will find it harder to get there on 75.

  16. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    I’d drop the Mets like a hot rock if they moved here.

  17. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Hey, is the “Field Of Dreams” still for sale? They could move there.

  18. lardin - Oct 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    The big problem with the Whalers was advertising. We have two casinos in CT. One of Which, Foxwoods, is the largest in the world. Foxwoods wanted nothing to do with advertising at Whalers games or in the Hartford Civic Center. They would rather spend their advertising dollars at Madison Square Garden or the the Boston Garden. I cant say I blame them. It is better business. This is why professional sports teams will be hard to come by in Hartford. It makes no sense for National companies to advertise in Hartford, when the Boston and New York media markets include Hartford. There just isnt enough local businesses that make enough money or spend enough on marketing to make up the difference. Everyone in CT gets the YES network and NESN. So why would advertise on the Rays new station? YES goes out to all of NYC, Long Island and New Jersey and CT. NESN covers all of New England.
    Any new MLB team in Hartford would be broke in two years.

  19. BC - Oct 11, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    However, if they put the Rays in Hartford… folks would get 9 games each of the Red Sox and Yankees, right here.
    The Mets fan base really doesn’t go beyond Fairfield County. I’m the vast minority up here (I live 15 mi north of Hartford).
    About the Casinos… the NHL didn’t want anything to do with the Casinos back then. The Whalers were clamoring to get them or someone big on board once all the insurance companies started bagging out in the late 80’s/early 90’s. The NHL “dissuaded” them.
    I wouldn’t work. But it’s nice to think about.
    Why not drop a team in Charlotte? Or Raleigh/Durham? There’s like nothing between Washington and Atlanta.

  20. basiltherat - Oct 11, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I live about a 10-minute drive from the Trop and have been to, I’m guessing, a couple hundred games there. Sternberg has actually invested quite a bit of money into upgrading the ballpark, and it is definitely far less mausoleum-like than it was before he bought the team. But facts are facts: It was a ballpark thrown up on the cheap, and it will always look like a ballpark thrown up on the cheap, and trying to improve the experience there is just another strategy to draw fans that has failed. I’m perfectly okay with Selig’s suggestion (instruction? order?) — there’s no point wasting money on a failing business. Either find a place in the bay area where the team can be viable, or move it.

  21. Kiwicricket - Oct 11, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Even the Roman’s figured out Sulphur was good at killing bacteria in such things as wine. I can lend a few bags which should help with those spores you’re talking about. Might help the food hygiene also. A minimal investment for microbial accountability.

  22. Panda_Claus - Oct 11, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    “The Trop is an excellent ballpark…”
    I’ve never heard that from anyone but you, and that would include punch-drunk Selig, the Rays owners, members of “Stadiums that look like orange juicers” fan clubs or baseball writers.
    Not saying your opinion doesn’t matter, but from my viewpoint of having seen games there played on TV, it’s a hideous venue. The lighting is bleak and the playing field looks terrible.
    If it’s close to your house and you like it, that’s great. You need to convince about 19,000 more of your friends to make the trip with you to games.

  23. lardin - Oct 11, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    How is this different than the Rays being in Tampa now? As it is the only games they sell out are against the Yankees and Red Sox. And no one goes to the games the rest of the year. Put them in Hartford, you have the same problem… No TV revenue + No Fan Base = garbage team.
    I live in New Britain, nothing would make me happier than an MLB team here. It just wont fly…

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