Tampa Bay Rays rip fans, and fans hit back
A Tampa Bay Rays team executive and coach Joe Maddon expressed disappointment in turnout for last night's World Series rematch. The Rays' rematch with the Philadelphia Phillies drew fewer than 20,000 to the Trop.
The Rays players didn't exactly show up, either. After saying for days the chance to avenge their October defeat was no big deal, the Rays 10-1 loss ranks as one of their worst efforts of the season.
Rays President Matt Silverman said team officials are perplexed about why attendance hasn't been better: "It’s bewildering. There seems to be great affection for the team and excitement for the '09 campaign, but it's not showing up at the gate at all."
Coach Joe Maddon also put some blame on the fans, noting most of the Tropicana Field crowd of 19,608 was in red.
"It's kind of awkward when you get to this point and all of a sudden the majority of the crowd is for the other side."
Readers are responding to the blame game this morning on tampabay.com, with more than 130 comments posted so far.
"Silverman and Maddon...your team is playing .500 ball. Don't call out the fans, or you'll see a rebellion," says Billy from Seminole.
For Chris from Temple Terrace, it's not about the team's performance: "Besides the brutal drive at rush hour (1+ hours), I must pay the parking fee (only 2 of us), the "prime game" charge, and the "walk-up" charge. I've already been surcharged about $40 before even buying a ticket. That's why I don't go!"
"I think it's time to face the fact that St Pete can't support this team," Larry from Largo wrote. "I go to 40 games a year, with two young children who love it. With that being said, this team simply doesn't draw in St. Pete and never will. Too many excuses."
"Silverman's upset only 19,000 fans saw the Rays go down 6-0 in the first inning and lose 10-1?" asked Phred from Palm Harbor. He ought to be happy more fans didn't see that debacle in person. Win consistently -- prove last season was no fluke -- and people will show up.
Ryan from Riverview says the stadium is just too far: "How the heck do I work all day, get home to get the family and then drive all the way over to St Pete for a game? Move the staduim. Enough said."
"IT WAS TUESDAY! some of us work," responded Reality from St. Pete.
Kay from St. Pete tells Silverman and Maddon: "Call out fans - attendance WON'T go up that way."
What's your excuse? Tell Maddon and Silverman why you weren't there.
James Borchuck | Times photo