I'm going to Disney World!
Stay at the Trop? Build a park down by the water? Let's face it, the Rays should just move to Orlando. They've played six games there, won all six. And now are at .500 for the season after the three-game sweep of the Jays. "If we get to the playoffs, we'd love to play here,'' pitcher Andy Sonnanstine said after the game. Speaking of a new stadium, we've been getting a flood of e-mails of late, most like this one from St. Petersburg's Danny Di Nicolantonio:
Instead of playing games in Disney and moving spring training to another galaxy in Jupiter, why not think of ways of getting people who are closer, but claim they don't want to come from Hillsborough and Manatee Counties? Why not just at the Trop and win!? The product on the field was the only reason for attendance, not the stadium. Listen to the fans. When they come to the Trop, as they walk through the rotunda entrance and give a collective sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhh. Just stay inside and and win.
Danny and all the letter-writers make fine points. But look, win or lose, the Rays want a new stadium and they're going to end up with one whether it's down by the water, in Tampa, in Orlando or in, I don't know, Portland or Buffalo. And we all need to get over this whole argument of "It's-Too-Hot-To-Play-Outside.'' The Rays aren't going to schedule 1 o'clock games in August. Ever been to Dallas-Fort Worth in the summer? Same as here, pretty much, and the Rangers play outdoors. Ever been to St. Louis or Kansas City in the middle of a heatwave?
Methinks it's a lousy excuse because it is not unbearable around here at 8 or 9 o'clock -- when the chunk of the game is being played -- even in August. Sure, maybe a few games here and there will be a little toasty, but it's no different than the fans up north who deal with a little cold in early April or late September or the fans in Atlanta or Miami or, really, anywhere dealing with a little heat in the summer. You just have to deal with weather occasionally.
The Trop is fine, but this is the part people need to realize: Even if the Rays win 90 games and average 25,000 a game at the Trop, it isn't going to end their quest for a new stadium. I don't know where the Rays will be playing in 10 years, but I will bet anything it won't be at the Trop. In the meantime, wonder of Stu Sternberg is trying to figure out a way to schedule a few more games in Orlando considering the Rays turn into the 1927 Yankees when they play there.