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Rays games should be more accessible to working people

Rays' disappointing attendance

A costly outing limits fans in the stands

My husband and I went to a Tampa Bay Rays game recently because we were near Tropicana Field and said, "Let's go see the Rays in person." Usually we watch the games on TV because we live in Holiday and it is a little far to go.

Since we haven't been in a while, we were shocked to have to pay $15 for parking. Then we went to the box office and the ticket prices were outrageous. Yes, we did sit five rows up from the field, which cost us $90 apiece, plus food.

We then went again with the USPS organization and our tickets were all the way up in the stands at $10 apiece, which made me very nauseated, and I couldn't see who was doing what.

I can tell you that the average person is not going to spend more than $200 to watch the Rays in person especially if you take the whole family.

Oh, my gosh! Why not just pay no more than $5 for parking and no more than $15 per ticket, first come, first served, anywhere in the stands. I know I would go more often if that was the case.

If you have the Rays on TV, the bathroom is close, the refrigerator is close and it's not as expensive. You also have replays. What else do you need?

It's all about money, and most people are feeling the crunch. So lower the prices and I'm sure you'll have a better turnout.

Jeannie Purcell, Holiday

Money now rules

Two tickets to see the Rays play, $270 plus a convenience charge of $5. In addition to that, what is the cost of parking these days — $10, $15?

That is why attendance is so low.

Baseball used to be the all-American sport. The game and the players were revered by millions. It has eroded in the last two decades to a wealthy man's game (or business). It's all about the money, from the owners to the players and the vendors.

Well, the taxpayers are involved in this equation: We pay for the stadium. The team players have turned into prima donnas. In the '80s our family would attend games and meet players at local malls and other events. We even got autographs for free. Not anymore. And that is a sad commentary.

Gail Randle, Clearwater

Gov. Mark Sanford

A moral misstep

Don't cry for Maria, Argentina, and don't cry for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Cry instead for his family. Thank goodness Jenny Sanford is a tough, intelligent woman, and has been able to handle her husband's infidelity with dignity and courage.

Sanford's friendship with Maria sparked into sexual misbehavior, which shows the governor's lack of integrity and good sense. He was missing in action for a week. He left his state without direction or leadership, followed by a list of lies and deception.

Can he survive politically? It depends on the people of South Carolina, especially the women. I am wondering if Gov. Sanford has forgotten that the GOP is very unhappy when their politicians do not adhere to a strict moral code.

Ruth J. Anderson, Homosassa

Michael Jackson

Not a role model

Michael Jackson was a supertalented individual with a world following. That is a fact. But he also was a weirdo who slept with little boys. Not exactly my type of role model.

I have never witnessed such a feeding frenzy in the media about any other news item. CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News are giving his demise around-the-clock coverage. It is getting really old really fast.

I just wonder if this is good for our young people. When some of us think of Jackson, we are reminded of him dangling his little baby out the window of a high rise.

Where are they going to bury this guy? On the moon?

Guy Nash, St. Petersburg

Thank you for smoking | June 21

A pretty good bet

Upon scrutinizing your innovative cigarette packaging concepts in Perspective last weekend, I was stunned to learn that only "Half of regular users of cigarettes eventually die."

I plan to take up the habit immediately! Risking the other potential adverse effects of smoking seems well worth the 50 percent possibility of achieving immortality.

Gary P. Posner, M.D., Tampa

Rays fans know score | June 25, story

Make the games more accessible

As a season ticket holder for the last five years, I always believed the Rays' low attendance was due to mostly to their losing seasons for 10 consecutive years. I've often repeated the "win and they will come" mantra, which came to pass last year as the Rays substantially improved their attendance while being in first place in their division, beating the White Sox in divisional play, and beating the Red Sox for the American League pennant.

While the World Series was a water-logged disappointment, all Tampa Bay residents were thrilled with enthusiasm and local pride that the Rays became surprise winners, with fan support growing this season, as evidenced by increased attendance.

I think one problem is unrealistic fan expectations. Many new Rays fans experienced the excitement of a championship team last year, but so far this year the Rays are only a .500 team.

Longtime baseball fans from other regions of the country know that getting in postseason play and in the World Series are rare occurrences. As a former New Yorker, I remember when the 1986 Mets won the World Series. At the time I thought the Mets had built a dynasty with superior pitching and solid hitting, and would repeat as world champs. Well, the Mets didn't make it back to the World Series until 2000, 14 years later.

The other problem is insufficient fan accessibility. With very poor bus service in the city, and no rail service, fans who don't have a car or can't afford the $10 to $15 parking fees won't attend games. Unless the Rays, the city of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County make major-league baseball accessible and friendly to working-class people, I've got to question whether our area can adequately support a Rays franchise.

Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg

Complaints about the Trop can have an effect

So let me get this straight: The Tampa Bay Rays' management spends the last 18 months telling us how bad Tropicana Field is and now they're shocked that no one wants to go see baseball games there?

It doesn't take a degree from Harvard to realize that's poor marketing.

Joshua Cabanne Smith, St. Petersburg

Rays games should be more accessible to working people 06/27/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 27, 2009 9:06pm]
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