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MLB on the Rays: “The status quo is simply not sustainable”

Jan 24, 2013, 6:47 PM EDT

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Earlier today, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg went before the Hillsborough County Commission meeting and said that MLB “no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area.” Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, MLB has since released a statement on the matter:

“The Commissioner has had conversations with Stuart Sternberg and is disappointed with the current situation in the Tampa Bay market. The status quo is simply not sustainable. The Rays have been a model organization, averaging nearly 92 wins per year since 2008 and participating in the Postseason three times, including their inaugural World Series in 2008. Their .565 winning percentage over the last five years is second among all American League Clubs and third in all of Major League Baseball.  Last year, the 30 Major League Clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game. The Club is an eager contributor to worthy causes in the Tampa and St. Petersburg communities and takes pride in meeting the social responsibilities that come with being a Major League franchise.  We are hopeful that the market will respond in kind to a Club that has done a marvelous job on and off the field.”

The main issue for the Rays is that they are locked into their current lease at Tropicana Field until 2027. They have requested the ability to discuss other locations in Hillsborough County, but St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster is standing in the way, presumably because the team would simply hop over to Tampa. MLB stopped short of threatening relocation in their statement today, but it appears they are happy to play the role of the bad guy if it can sway public opinion and put pressure on the local government.

  1. chill1184 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Something tells me that this can potentially turn into a big ugly fight in which the tax payers get screwed in the end.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      I don’t know about ugly fight but taxpayers getting screwed is an absolute certainty.

      • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        Not always. Here in Macondo, they got shafted.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:33 PM

        Ha!

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Hotel bed tax paid for the Marlins stadium. I know, I know. A forgettable fact when the chance to bash Loria comes up

      • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Hotel bed tax was supposed to be available to Macondo for infrastructure improvements benefiting tourism, its economic engine. Healthy tourism industry generates tax revenues beyond the bed tax that fund schools, roads, hospitals and so forth. Bed tax money pissed away on stadium in crooked, incompetent backroom political deal massively opposed by the citizenry. Citizens of Macondo shafted in the process. Inconvenient extrapolation beyond the squamous masquerade of “tourists” paying for the stadium.

  2. hojo20 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Seeing the Rays in person would be cool, but why would I waste a summer Florida day or night inside a concrete dome?

    • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      Have you ever sat outdoors in August in Florida? It’s not fun. I recommend an SPF of 1000 and a portable personal air conditioner. It’s the location more than the dome that is keeping people away.

      • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Having sat through a few Marlins games in the summer at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphins/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium, I can back you up on that one. It sounds cliched, but it really is the humidity that gets you more than the heat. That and the daily thunderstorms.

      • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:33 PM

        Well, the third deck seats at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium were still cheaper than building a sauna off the pool deck behind your house.

    • joegolfer - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Because it is superhot and humid in Florida in the summer months, that’s why.
      And because of the love of the game. It’s great to go to a real game rather than sit on your sofa for all of them.

  3. crnvic847 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Tampa cannot sustain a professional sports team. End of story.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      1.5 million used to be a pretty good number for annual attendance. I’m just picking a random team here, but look at the Tigers’ numbers through the years: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/DET/attend.shtml

      I’m not sure if I have a point.

      • pappageorgio - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM

        According to that, since arriving at comerica the only years the tigers put up numbers in the mid-millions they lost 100 games those seasons.

        We’re talking about very competitive Rays teams. When the tigers are competitive they put 2.5 in the seats. Before that they were in tiger stadium….built in 1911…..safe to say that place may have been outdated.

    • stopthemadness101 - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      Umm. Wrong. This area relies on tourism more than most. Our economy has been impacted by the recession and housing crash more than most. Our stadium is surrounded by water on three sides in a location that isn’t suited for a MLB park thanks to the brilliant planning of our previous city leadership. That being said the Rays are loved here. Despite the transplants from up North who still support the Red Sux and Wankees we are slowly building up a fan base. It will take a generation or more but we will get there. The team play in Tampa, closer to our population center. All you losers who are envious of our team go f.ck yourselves. The team is not leaving Florida. It’s people like you calling for the team to move that allows owners to play cities against each other to finance their stadiums. If your city deserved a team it would already have one no f.ck off.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    The need to move the stadium to the eastside of Tampa.

    They can draw Orlando from there. They can draw Polk county a WHOLE lot easier.

    The only downside is that St. Petersburg fans have to make the trip across the bridge but….guess what…..AT LEAST THE TRAFFIC ON THE BRIDGE WON’T ALL BE TRYING TO GET TO THE SAME LOCATION IMMEDIATELY OFF THE BRIDGE.

    • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      I’m guessing you’ve never driven eastbound on I-275 during rush hour? It’s a parking lot as is. The lack of a functioning public transportation system in the area make going to any stadium a nightmare traffic-wise during the week on either side of the bay. I agree the stadium should move to Tampa but not for traffic related reasons. It’s to be closer to the population center.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        Yeah, traffic on 275 sucks.

        Which is why the situation shouldn’t be exacerbated by a venue that draws thousands of people during rush hour.

        Granted, it will add eastbound traffic to a rough area already….but not nearly as much because the only additional traffic will be those IN St. Pete GOING to the game.

        Just for argument’s sake let’s assume that St. Pete residents make up 50% of the crowd. That number drops by however many of those don’t want to deal with the traffic (Like the 95% of the population that DOESN’T live in St. Pete)….great, so now 20% of the crowd is coming from St. Pete.

        But 80% is coming from Tampa, Polk, and Orlando. And that’s a MUCH bigger pool.

      • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        There will be even more traffic than you estimated because people in Tampa who would otherwise be going home (e.g. Veterans Memorial traffic) are now diverted onto I275 to get to the hypothetical Rays stadium in east Tampa. It woudn’t just be an increase of traffic from Pinellas County. It would make a bad traffic situation worse. Either way, we agree that the population center is in Tampa and that’s where they should be. Although I do wonder if the Bucs are considering moving to St. Pete, seeing how Tampa doesn’t support them.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        It’s not really an estimate, just a hypothetical to illustrate that while losing St Pete fans they will be drawing from a much larger pool were they to move the stadium to somewhere near the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphiteater (I insist on calling it that).

      • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        No, no, no. I insist on calling it the Ford Amphitheater. The day I call it the 1-800-Axe-Gary, I will slap myself across the face.

  5. thebadguyswon - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Why can’t this team move to a place like DC? Northern Virginia, something like that?

    • frombalttosf - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      oh, you know. because of that team the umm… Nats. Yeah, that’s what they’re called. forget about them?

      • thebadguyswon - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        NO. I’m saying maybe the market can support more than one team.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        They do, the Orioles.

    • jyoung1891 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Are you not aware of the battle that the Nats are having with Peter Angelos over territorial broadcasting rights? Try to imagine a three way battle.

      • thebadguyswon - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        OK…fine. But there has to be SOMEWHERE they can go that is a better market than Tampa.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        The likely choice would be Charlotte or Raleigh NC.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Long Island or Northern New Jersey come to mind.

      • v2rotate - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Hello San Antonio

      • bigharold - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        “Try to imagine a three way battle.”

        Yeah, .. now you’re talking. Three way steel cage match.

      • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        brewcrewfan, as someone who grew up in North Carolina, I’d love to see a team in Charlotte — just not the Rays because I enjoy watching them every night on TV here in Florida.

        The local politics on bringing an MLB team to Charlotte right now might be a bit messy anyway. The city is already made a decent-sized investment in a new uptown stadium for the AAA Charlotte Knights that’s already under construction. I’m sure a lot of baseball fans there would be thrilled to get an MLB team, but I doubt the average taxpayer would be too happy about an unfinished AAA stadium suddenly becoming obsolete.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        Jashton, you know more about the political climate there than I do so I wont argue that. What I have read in several places is that market is the size and untapped resource that MLB covets if they were to move a team or expand to more. Now getting a stadium built is a whole different story which could obviously make it a no deal.

      • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        brewcrew, if the stadium wasn’t likely to be a sticking point, I do think a team could ultimately succeed in Charlotte. There’s an excellent baseball culture in North Carolina, and the Charlotte area just seems to keep growing.

        From talking to friends and family back in the state, though, I get the sense that there’s some fatigue with the public demands of pro sports in Charlotte. There’s still lingering resentment over the way the Hornets left town and how the Bobcats’ new building was thrust on the city. And now the Panthers are talking about wanting public money for renovations to BofA Stadium (which, now that I think about it, could probably serve an MLB team until it inevitably asks for its own park).

        The Hurricanes have done well in Raleigh, much better than I think anyone expected when they moved there. As much as I love the Raleigh-Durham area, though, I don’t know that an MLB team would be quite as viable there as in Charlotte.

      • genericcommenter - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        I do not want to imagine anything about Peter Angelos and three way.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Jashton, I don’t doubt a team could male ot down there. I’ve never been to Charlotte but I’ve been to the Raleigh area. Its a nice place. And with all the minor league teams in the state I don’t doubt there’s plenty of baseball fans to support them. Stadiums are a sticky issue now. I think most people are tired of paying for something that they may have zero interest in and doesn’t benefit them economically. Either way on the surface its a viable market for MLB.

      • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        I totally agree with you on all that, brewcrew. One other thing that Charlotte would have in its favor as an MLB market is the local financial industry. It’s not as strong as it was before the recession, but there would still be plenty of corporate support.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      That market is already supporting 2 teams…the other one is called the Orioles.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        That reply totally landed in the wrong place. Anyway, San Antonio, Portland, Buffalo, New Orleans, Carolinas, and just for fun…Montreal. These might all be potential markets. I can personally speak to the Carolinas. I live 20 minutes south of Raleigh. Raleigh-Durham would basically fall into the category of zero mass transit. The amount of traffic for ‘Canes games is no fun so multiplying that traffic x2.5 for a baseball game would pretty much be a killer. Charlotte does have some mass transit and bit more infrastructure to support MLB play. One alternative would be to move the team to “the Triad” Greensboro area. This would put the team@ betwe 1/2 way between Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. A couple caveats though Greensboro, Durham, and Zebulon (near Raleigh) all have minor league teams, not just Charlotte, so that could cause conflict in a smaller market. I also debate the “baseball environment” here. After 11 years in the Carolinas I still feel their # 1 sport here is College Basketball.

      • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM

        Good point on the mass transit in Charlotte. And you’re right about college basketball — it will always be king in North Carolina. That said, I wouldn’t sell the baseball culture in the state short.

        I don’t think The Triad would be a viable alternative. The Hurricanes played there for their first year or two, and I don’t remember them drawing well. (To be fair, that could have been because NHL hockey was still new to the region.) The Triad alone isn’t big enough to support a team and halfway between Raleigh and Charlotte is still an hour and a half drive in either direction. That’s fine for an ACC Tournament but not 81 home baseball games a year.

  6. randygnyc - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Stern berg was telling the truth. He should go to court and try to break the lease. Then, should pay a reasonable fee for that. Paying 50% now, might do the trick.

  7. APBA Guy - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    It seems like we have this discussion once every 6 months. So for those of you who haven’t heard me say it yet, I think the Rays should move closer to Disney in Kissimmee. Get the draw between Tampa and Orlando, and get the tourists. Run buses from the big hotels and hotel areas to the ball park. It has to be better than the Trop, which is way worse than the Mausoleum.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Adding more traffic to Orlando isn’t a better option.

      Just west of Plant City works because the tourists will still make that trip should they want to. Lots of them make the trip to Busch Gardens anyway.

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      It can’t be between Tampa and Orlando, but east Tampa could definitely work.

  8. braddavery - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Ship them up to Buffalo! We’ll take them and support them!

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      LOL….just like the Bisons, huh?

      • braddavery - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        The Bisons already have a MLB-caliber stadium and could move to let a pro team play there after some renovations. Buffalo actually made a strong push for a MLB team in’92-93 but lost out to the Rockies and Marlins.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        I read that the Bisons may have a better rotation than some MLB teams this year (I thought it was a laughably idiotic comment, but I did read it).

      • jdd428 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        Isn’t Buffalo having enough trouble trying to keep the Bills from leaving for Toronto or LA? I don’t see MLB entertaining that notion.

  9. chill1184 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Looks like it’s time to resurrect the debate on where to move the Rays if Sternberg just thorws up his hands and says F it Im moving the team anyway.

    http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/professional/could-new-jersey-get-the-tampa-bay-rays

    http://nesn.com/2010/01/tampa-bay-rays-moving-to-southern-connecticut-or-new-jersey/

    http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/10/5/2471019/tampa-bay-rays-attendance-stadium-st-petersburg

  10. markofapro - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Dissolve the Astros and hold a rule 106 (losses last tear) draft of all their players. Move the Rays to Houston.

    Sorry Tampa fans, you suck. Baseball is better with one less team.

    • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      It’s not the fans who suck. We’re the ones showing up. It’s the LACK of fans that sucks.

  11. jsally430 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    north dakotas populations sky rocketing just saying ;)

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      Exactly. Liberal-free zone too.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Um, not really sure who you’ve been talking to, but let’s just assume your specious assertion is correct. It would be lots of fun to see conservative morons in North Dakota confronted with the paradox of having to fund a stadium deal with taxpayer dollars while at the same time screeching about how they don’t want to pay taxes and shouldn’t have to. Unless, that is, an MLB owner can be found who wants to pay for the stadium totally from his pocket. That will totally happen. Or are stadiums paid for by taxpayers OK for “business” reasons, but taxes that go to social services and “liberal stuff” (what we used to call “culture” and “decent standards of living”) are not? I mean, show your work, please.

      • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Yeah, where Hoeven edged out Thune in the race to donate sperm to the Neanderthal cloning project.

  12. tbbucs621 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    The perfect place would be next to Hard Rock Casino as it is always packed. It is next to a major interstate and will draw fans from east of Tampa. The move and new stadium would a$$e$ in seats.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Oh good a baseball stadium next to a casino. Paging Mr. Rose. Mr. Rose please see the concierge. /Sarcasm

      • jdl1325 - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        Almost positive there is no sportsbook at the Hard Rock. Still, I can’t see MLB being stoked about a stadium Adamo Dr. with a casino.

  13. dw3dw - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    A good landing spot might be Northern NJ but I imagine the Yankees/Mets/Phillies would stand in the way. The area could probably support another team.

    • chill1184 - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      Its almost a guarantee that all three teams would exercise the territorial rights rule if such a proposal went on the table. If people thought the A’s to San Jose battle was bad, a MLB in NJ would alot worse

    • tc4306 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Would be nice to see baseball back in Montreal, but they’d need a new park.

      Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New York all in the same Division.
      Nobody would know whether to wear baseball jerseys or hockey sweaters.

      Hockey players could teach the ball players how to fight.
      Ball players could teach their hockey brothers how to spit
      sunflower seeds on the ice at critical junctures.
      Win-Win.

    • deepstblu - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      New Jersey voters turned down funding for a proposed baseball stadium in the Meadowlands years ago and would probably do the same if the question came up again. The Yankee fans are happy being Yankee fans, the Philly fans are happy being Philly fans and don’t want their taxes going to something “up north.”

  14. drewsylvania - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    “The main issue for the Rays is that they are locked into their current lease at Tropicana Field until 2027″

    Do new stadiums really draw the crowds? I think we can look no further than their in-state NL counterpart to find the answer to that. The real problem is that Florida is a state full of ex-pats and retirees who simply don’t care about Florida MLB baseball.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      That is a problem but the reason the marlins couldn’t draw last year was that they were awful and boring to watch. When they put a good team together, marlins park will fill up. Miami fans only love a winner with their money

  15. pewterpiratetampabayray - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    I get so sick of hearing about attendance issues and then having people bash our team. Most of these people that say “Tampa Fans Suck, etc…” probably LIVE in Florida and root for another team. I’ll tell you who sucks. People from the north that live in Florida.

    • braddavery - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      It’s not Rays fans who suck. It’s the people who AREN’T Rays fans who suck. It’s the lack of fans that is the problem, not those who actually ARE fans.

      • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        I responded to someone else using your words almost verbatim without having read your comment. Sorry about that–didn’t mean to plagiarize.

      • braddavery - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM

        No problem whatsoever.

    • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      I’m a Florida transplant from the north and I’m a hardcore Rays fan. There are many of us.

    • jashton11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      If I didn’t live 4 hours away on the east coast, I’d be at Rays games all the time. As it is, my wife and I try to get over to St. Pete at least once or twice a year, and I always head down to Miami to watch them play the Marlins. (We even caught the Rays while we were up in Toronto last year.)

      While it would obviously be better to have a full ballpark every night, the Rays hold their own in terms of local TV ratings compared to other MLB teams. I think that’s a reasonable indication that the team has some fans.

      http://www.draysbay.com/2012/10/8/3473250/tampa-bay-rays-tv-ratings-historical-2012

  16. redsoxchamp11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    preface: live in Land o lakes (north of Tampa for you out of towners) and am an ex St. Pete resident, also work in St. Pete. facts are this:

    1. south St. Pete is ghetto and will never be an area to draw.
    2. there is no corporations outside of Progress/Duke in the area. Heck the two most famous thing to come from the area hooters and outback dont have resturants close to there.
    3. the only hope Pinellas has is the proposed Carrillon facility, but that obviously doesnt interest Stu.
    4. no stadium will ever be placed next to a gambling facility and Kissimmi, are you kidding me? has anyone traveled on I4 through orlando in rush hour… it makes the Howard franklin look delightful. so there goes your “it’ll draw orlando talk.”
    5. the traffic going both ways on 275 is bad, if the traffic on a typical business day headed west is bad… what does that tell you? they are leaving their in tampa to go home.

    Either way one side of the populatik. has to bite the bullet. frankly I dont care either way because I think this argument is ridiculous until Stu outs his money up. Jeff Vinik came in, bought the lightning, out $50m+ of his money into stadium renovations, and you know actually moved to tampa. on the other hand Stu flys down from NY 2-3 times a year to complain about the stadium to local politicians making no head way and hides behind Bud.

    Stu, you’ve done an amazing job with the team but I think its time you move on with your whinning to somewhere else. I hear the Astris are for sell. Good luck.

  17. simon94022 - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Sternberg and MLB are just blowing smoke. Tampa-St. Pete is a weak market, but the Trop lease is virtually unbreakable. And even if the Rays could get out of it, the current number of viable, open markets in North America is zero.

    Putting a third team in NY or LA makes the most economic sense. But territorial rights make it a non-starter. All other potential markets are marginal at best, plus most of them fall within another MLB team’s broadcast territory.

    And any market trying to lure away the Rays will need to offer a state-of-the-art ballpark with public financing, just to start the conversations. Number of US and Canadian cities where that’s a possibility in the next 5-10 years: Zero.

    The Rays are stuck.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      Unless of course the area has a state of the art stadium that could be MLB ready on the relative cheap. The Alamo Dome and, the Super Dome come to mind.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

        Both SA and NO would be small markets. Both those domes would be temporary options at best, would have to come with breaking ground an a new stadium. Watch the fur fly from both the Rangers and Astros should any team try to move into San Antonio. The Astros would also be very displeased with a New Orleans team.

        Simeon’s right–this is not happening.

  18. FinFan68 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    There are many reasons the attendance is poor. Tampa’s economy is bad but that isn’t the main reason. The Trop is in a bad location and is not easy to get to. I live in Lakeland and have attended Rays games even though my team is the Braves. There are a ton of people in central Florida sporting Rays gear. A venue close to Tampa off I-4 would be expensive but would bring more fans to the games. Straight shot from Orlando. Tampa/St. Pete folks would still go etc. Better overall location and is only a few miles away.

  19. klingonj - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    This team would draw 3.5 M if it was in NY, Chicago or LA

  20. Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    The Tropicana Tumulus isn’t just in a “bad location.” It also looks like a Morlock dome, and on the inside it feels like one, too. It kinda reminds me of what Redd Foxx used to say about Shirley Chisholm: “She ugly.” If you were a fastball pitcher in your contract year and you woke up the morning after a bender next to the Tropicana Dump, you’d chew off your pitching arm at the rotator cuff to get away from it without waking it up.

    • indaburg - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Some players might see it as a slumpbuster.

      • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        It would have to be one helluva slump – and the player would also need to feel an odd urge to eat your brain.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      The Trop beats the brand new Blow Hole in Fishville every day of the week and twice on Sunday – AND – we weren’t hornswaggled by the commissioner of baseball and a crooked owner to get it built.

      Now that that ownership and the commissioner have their new Miami stadium – look what has happened after they ripped off the public for all that money.

      Let’s see who draws more fans this year – the contending Rays playing in a supposedly bad stadium OR the Blow Fish playing in a brand new stadium with zero parking and a miner league team on the field.

      A new stadium is NOT the answer for the Rays. Better marketing and promoting what they do have is the best way to go instead of this constant bashing of the Trop and Tampa Bay fans by MLB (especially Uncle Bud) and team ownership.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        You sound bitter. Maybe your rays should try winning a title or two before bragging

  21. jagsfan11 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    If youre gonna move come to Jax. Im a Rays fan, so it would work

    • Old Gator - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      Great idea. Meet you at the Mossfire Grill for a cup of their nonpareil chipotle corn chowder.

  22. themagicfanguy - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    I’m a fan who lives in Orlando. It’s a pain to get to the Trop, SERIOUSLY! If they moved it to the other side of town, they’d get a lot of fans from ORL, like myself. The Magic are a good example of how supportive fans in this area can be.

    • Rockie D. Bull - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Punkball gets a big turnout from those folks in Orlando – because it’s their 1 and only pro team of any kind.

  23. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    The biggest issue with attendance is that there are a multitude of them. Location. Economy. Bandwagoners. Northerners that cling to their old teams. Another one that is very rarely mentioned is also corporate tickets…the percentage of companies purchasing tickets for employees is FAR less than it is for most professional teams.

    Out of these, location is the only one that can be changed right now. The Rays have no control over the economy, and corporate participation is tied in with that. Bandwagoners will always be there, but in time some of them will become die-hard, and new generations of fans will turn to the Rays even if their parents are Yankees/Red Sox fans. But those latter 2 will take a while to change, and the Rays will need to be consistently great for a while too.

    Location, however, is the biggest issue and is the only one that can theoretically be fixed. The majority of space within 25 miles of the current stadium is…water. Putting it in Tampa, preferably East Tampa, is a no-brainer, and this is coming from someone who lives in Pinellas and would have to drive farther to get there. But it has to be done. Everyone knows it, except Foster. The frustrating thing is that Bud Selig and MLB CAN step in and do something. If this was a major issue for them, they could chip in and pay the majority of the remaining lease. Instead, they are going to continue to play the role of bully and try to force this to happen without providing any relief to the residents of St Pete. The stadium in Tampa will also be almost completely taxpayer funded as well, because Selig looks out for his buddies.

    I love everything that Sternberg has done with the franchise, but his refusal to do any budging of his own is beginning to get old. Look to Vinik for an example of a great owner. He has completely paid for stadium renovations out of his own pocket and continues to reach out to the community generously, and the fans have responded. The Lightning were right around the middle of the pack in attendance last year, despite missing the playoffs. If hockey can succeed in Tampa, baseball can too. But ownership will need to do their part. Fans certainly deserve a lot of blame, but at the same time Sternberg knew what he was buying when he got into this. He knew about the lease, the location, and the fickle fans. If he wants this to happen, he needs to help out. The economy down here is right up there with the worst in the country and screwing taxpayers as Selig is hoping to do will have a devastating effect on the area. It’s easy to forget this sometimes, but sports affects a lot more than just sports.

  24. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    Portland, please. I’ll buy season tickets tomorrow if they do it. Joe Maddon’s glasses will play perfectly to the bearded crowd.

    (I know it’s not actually likely to happen because of the lease situation and the difficulty of building a dome in Portland, but driving to Seattle sucks bad enough, then you have to watch the Mariners.)

    • 4d3fect - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      The horror….

  25. bolweevils2 - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Wasn’t there talk that Tampa and St. Pete could work a deal, Tampa gets the Rays while St. Pete gets the cruise ship terminal currently in Tampa? Apparently having to go under the bridge limits the Tampa cruise terminal to only smaller ships, and there is thought of moving it to someplace in St. Pete that doesn’t require passing under the bridge.

    • bolweevils2 - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Actually, looking at a map, it looks to me that St. Pete is still on the wrong side of the bridge for that to work.

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