Tampa Bay Rays attendance
Let's have trains for baseball fans
If you had to look at the one major impediment to our area filling those seats at Tropicana Field, or even if the team moved to the other side of the bay, it all boils down to one thing: bridges.
Having grown up in one bay area (San Francisco) and living 20-plus years in St. Petersburg, I know bridges are a defining separation of space. Whether it's going from San Francisco to Oakland, or Tampa to St. Petersburg, people are naturally hesitant to travel over long bridges.
As most communities large enough to have a pro sports team will show you, the only way to keep those people coming in is mass transit.
Being able to get to the Trop, the St. Pete Times Forum, or even Raymond James Stadium would be less of a hassle and worlds better for the environment if we would just be mature enough to institute a bay area transit system.
You want to fill the seats. Build the trains.
Duane Strand, St. Petersburg
Bring on the buses
The Tampa Bay Rays and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority are missing a golden opportunity to benefit both of them.
There are a lot of us over 70 who realize we are not equipped to drive at night, and who also grew up listening to baseball and loving the sport. If the Rays and the transit authority would work out an arrangement whereby seniors could drive to a parking lot on a main thoroughfare such as Gulf-to-Bay or East Bay and points south, to be picked up by a bus and driven to and from Tropicana Field, I believe the turnout would be tremendous.
I would be delighted to pay a $10 round-trip fee plus the cost of a ticket to be able to actually go to the games. It makes me so sad to watch a really terrific baseball team play to a mostly empty house. The Rays deserve so much more.
The transit authority could also show residents what they have to offer and could easily improve.
Kay Kelly, Clearwater
Rays give up nothing to city | April 29, story
Rail idea is right
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio's suggestion for a stadium in the Gateway area of Pinellas with a light rail connection between Tampa and St. Petersburg with a station at the new stadium is the best idea I've heard yet! It would solve two problems and I bet it would fill the stadium.
I've gone to several games so far, but paying $15 to $20 for parking limits my attendance, not to mention the traffic — don't like driving at night. That's why I considered buying season tickets, but didn't think I could make that many games
Roger C. Fleck, St. Petersburg
Costs are an issue
I read with interest the articles on lack of attendance at the Tampa Bay Rays games. I agree it is a shame that the games aren't better attended. However, I can understand in this time of recession that a lot of folks can't afford to come out to the ball game when it costs them not only for the ticket, but also for parking. Then when they get inside, the cost of food and drink is very high, too.
I'm a season ticket holder of the 22 Saturday game plan as well as a Golden Ray. I have parking with my plan also, but on those nights when I attend as a Golden Ray or at an extra game, I have to pay at least $10 for parking away from the stadium.
Also as much as I enjoy watching the Rays on TV when I can't attend, being able to do that may influence many folks not to spend all that money, thus affecting attendance. Just think of what it costs for a family with two or three children to attend the games!
Let's hope we can find a way to make it less expensive so folks can support our great team.
Doris J. Houdesheldt, St. Petersburg
Fill those seats
To the Rays executives: I've been perplexed to see that you continue to allow the seats at Tropicana Field to go unfilled.
The team could donate those seats to groups to be sure that at least the cheapest seats are always filled. Get school kids and teachers, nonprofit agencies, and you could fill them. You might have to offer transportation or other deals. But the seats are perishable, why not fill them even for free so that your players feel supported and the community gets to see you live?
People will buy food and drinks there. They'll appreciate your generosity and be more willing to pay for tickets when they can afford them.
For the more expensive seats, why not offer seats in blocks to senior facilities, churches, in the greater Tampa Bay area, at a steep discount and help them arrange transportation? I'd like not having to drive if it were convenient.
Rather than be concerned or unhappy that the stadium isn't full, why not take control and fill it now so that you are priming the pump for the future?
As someone who has had a small season ticket package, I can tell you that seeing the stadium full would motivate me to buy tickets ahead of time. And trying to buy tickets and seeing there aren't many available makes an impression.
Wendy Pressoir, Clearwater
Israel's nukes | April 26, letter
It seems to me that the letter writer overlooks Israel's history with its neighbors. Israel has a population of 7 million and is surrounded by at least 200 million Arab Muslims who wish for its destruction on a daily basis.
Israel has won every war since its creation 62 years ago and cannot afford to lose any war with its neighbors. That is why it has the nuclear deterrent. No one has ever given Israel any nuclear weapons. It is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. It is barely the size of Rhode Island and its people yearn to live in peace with their neighbors. They have never started a war except to pre-empt an attack against them. Because of its size and numbers, the country has to defend itself at any cost in order to survive.
Israel is not the bully on the block. Iran is the one that threatens its existence on a weekly basis, not the other way around. And furthermore, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and one of our strongest and most loyal allies.
Albert Romano, Tampa
Israel's nukes | April 26, letter
Bias is showing
The writer calls himself impartial in the dispute between Israel and Iran over nuclear weapons, then shows his partiality by calling Israel "the bully on the (Middle East) block" whose nuclear weapons imperil all the countries of the area.
Israel, possessor of nuclear weapons for many years, has not used them against any nation, including those that have declared themselves at war with Israel. Could the same be expected of any of those if any had a nuclear arsenal and Israel did not?
Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg