Evan Longoria and David Price are Not Impressed With Rays Fans

David Price and Evan Longoria are not impressed. And rightfully so.

The Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Monday wasn't half as disappointing as the plethora of empty seats -- a crowd of 12,446 -- in St. Petersburg, Florida. A good team who's on the verge of a playoff berth should have no problem putting asses in the seats no matter who they're playing, right?

Apparently not.

Evan Longoria had this to say to the St. Petersburg Times regarding his disappointment in attendance (or lack thereof) at Tropicana Field:
We’ve been playing great baseball all year. Since I’ve been here in ’06, the fans have wanted a good baseball team. They’ve wanted to watch a contender. And for us to play good baseball for three years now, and for us to be in a spot to clinch again and go to the playoffs, we’re all confused as to why it’s only 15,00 to 20,000 in the building.
He followed that up with this explanation, so as to not piss off the public... even though the truth hurts.
I’m actually just trying to rally the troops and get more people in here. It’s a tough situation for us. A lot of the visiting teams come in and wonder where are all the fans. It’s a little bit embarrassing for us. Again, we’re one game away from clinching a postseason spot. We have enough guys in this room to celebrate with, but we’d love to celebrate with the fans, too. It’s just tough to see that.
Price also later apologized , saying "If I offended anyone I apologize I did not think it was gonna turn into this..."

No apology necessary, David. In my opinion, someone should have said something long ago. Maybe Rays fans will take the hike down to The Trop tonight to cheer on their team as they attempt to clinch a berth once again at 7:10pm ET when Price takes the hill against Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen.

Update: Read more about what the Rays organization plans to do to fill the house for their team.

[St. Petersburg Times]


k-bro said...

I don't know... I understand how they feel, but I don't think they should have said anything. For one thing, complaining about it might alienate the few fans who do go.

Also, I think there are bigger issues going on here than the quality of the team. I've read that the stadium is in an out-of-the way location, and it sucks worse than the Metrodome (I know...hard to believe!). Also, that area is experiencing pretty bad economic troubles.

I would say that much of the blame falls on the marketing/public relations/hype department of the team. Even though it's a crappy place to go, there are things they can do through promotions, discouts, whatever, to draw more fans.

So while I get that the players want to be performing at a high level in front of large, adoring crowds, their comments probably hurt the fans more than convinced them.