Really? Cowbells are the Culprit for Rays Low Attendance?

Are you kidding me St. Petersburg Times? You are flaunting the recent fact you won a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for one of your investigative reports on the Juvenile Penal camps that used to be a “scared straight” tactics for kids like me when we were young, but you drop the ball in your Sports section. Are you that starved for viable responsible reasons to try and figure out the Tampa Bay Rays 2010 attendance woes that you resort to blaming it on one of the Ray’s most popular promotional items of all time…..the manually-used cowbell.
I find it kind of hilarious that a simple Rays giveaway items being used within the stands to drown out opposing team chants or used by the Rays Republic to show their spirit by ringing or banging on these items to promote the Rays great offensive and defensive plays to be at the forefront of the Rays attendance downward spiral that is causing reduced attendance figures after one Rays home stand.

And the pure fact this is not a game day note or snippet, but an actual written multi-paragraph article is beyond responsive journalism and borders on insane media influence logic to induce or imply any realistic dialogue or discussion into the real attendance woes.

But then again in 2009, the Rays had their second highest yearly attendance figures of all time with over 1,874,962 Rays Republic members filing into the gates of Tropicana Field. And that figure is only 2,506,023 behind the all time mark set in the 1998 inaugural season of 1998. And even with a slight 3.5 percent increase, not a decrease in total 2009 attendance, where is the true logic that the Rays are hurting at the gate?

Even if the 2009 total numbers were 19 percent under the Major League Baseball average and last in the American League East, it is the fourth year in a row that some sort of upwards trend showed in the overall final attendance figures.

So don’t you think Mister Jones that it is way to early to bring out the attendance card after just six Rays home games. And to blame it on a simple promotion that is felt deep in the heart of our Rays team owner is a bit upsetting and totally without basis here. So let’s take a small gander at the first six Rays games as compared to 2009.


Now since we had the New York Yankees in for the first series in 2009, it will make it a bit easier to compare the totals, but the Chicago White Sox came in right after them in 2009 and carry a better traveling fan base than the Baltimore Orioles who were here for the first three games in 2010. But let’s take a look anyways.

After the first six Rays home games in 2009, the team had 173,763 Rays Republic member enter Tropicana Field. Now that is for six games, not the total 7 games that made up the first home stand of 2009. With a fast comparison to the first six games in 2010, we see that over 94,366 fans entered Tropicana Field for the New York Yankees first visit to the stadium in 2010.

And in their three game against the Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, which are usually not a great draw for the Rays brought in 68,384 fans into the blue seats. The immediate numbers do show a decrease of 11,013 fans entering the Trop., but realistically not where in that article does the St Petersburg Times or Jones even remotely show that Rays Television Network broadcast numbers have gone through the roof through the first flurry of Rays home games, plus the decline could be a reduction due to the National Broadcasts also done by TBS and Fox Sports over the weekend during the Yankees series.

Realistically, 11,013 usual Rays fan could have stayed home to enjoy the comforts of home aka cheaper Rays game alternative. I bet if a poll was submitted on any website or media gathering point, the fans who did not attend the games would rank the cowbells as one of the least of their concerns. But if you look at the first three Yankees games of both 2009 and 2010 in comparison, than about 4,751 fans decided to not attend just the Yankees series this past weekend.

But seriously, if Saturday and Sunday’s games were televised Nationally, why would the casual fan come to the ballpark if they can channel-surf at home with as many hotdogs and beers as they desire. So let’s also try and see what the variations in attendance would be if you took the Orioles first series in 2009 attendance numbers and compared them to the Rays first three games.

In 2009, the Orioles had only two early games at Tropicana Field on May 4 th and 5th before they did not come back until August 18th. But the Rays did attract 42,486 fans on those three dates, which is a decrease of 25,998 fans, but the 2010 Opening Day attendance of a sell out crowd, which filled 102.6 percent of the Trop was a huge variable in the figures.



But realistically in 2009, the Rays averaged 13,184 fans during the Orioles 9 games in the Trop in 2009. Already in 2010, those numbers are averaging 22,795 Rays fans with just three games completed in the yearly series. But then again, if you are a media member like the St. Petersburg Times you need to find a scapegoat for every bit of reasoning you can consider instead of a more reliable and viable reason to thrust out to the masses as to why the team is struggling at the box office.

But the reality is that the Rays past two seasons attendance figures might not be at a safe spot the Rays Front Office might have realistically envisioned the figures to be at this point in the team’s development, but outside influences like the economy and a upward spiral in Rays Television Network rating shows the passion might be here, but not the capital for the masses to be within the Trop. I found it refreshing when Rays Team Owner Stuart Sternberg said recently he has readjusted his Rays attendance expectations for 2010 based on the main fact that this region is stifled with over 14 percent unemployment,.
And I am sorry Mister Jones, but even the best promotions or concert acts will not change the struggles of the Tampa Bay region with their extra spend able income drastically reduced, and in some cases completely drained for this 2010 season. fact. There are too many factors to submit here right now, but to even push a figment of the Rays “supposed” attendance blame on a Rays manufactured promotional item for the decline of the fans in the stands….Really?
If the Rays attendance is going to begin a small downward turn in 2010, it is not for the loud noise produced by a cowbell, or even the air horns that certain Yankee fans snuck in along with cans of Silly String for this past weekend’s Rays games. I know there are certain people within the Rays Republic who again wish for the Trop to resemble a monastery in that you could hear someone cough in the Upper Decks during a game, but those days are long gone, and I am glad they have been exterminated for good.
Rays Republic members have matured as an overall baseball savvy public, and with that comes noisemakers and chants and sometimes a bit of cheering and loud noise. If you really feel it is a distraction, I am sure there is another Rays fan who would be more than glad to take your seat in 2011, or maybe the rest of 2010.

I am surprised that the St Petersburg Times did not blame the Cowbell Kid and his Cowbell Posse for all the noise so far in 2010, but then again, these same cowbells are now heard from the TBT Deck to the Upper Decks to even behind Home Plate. It is an outrageous noise epidemic to some, but a necessary Rays evil to others.

But then if it was so bad and obnoxious to the majority of the Rays fans, then there would not be promotional items given out to promote their usage during games.

Or Raysvision produced in-house videos submitted to educate and enlighten new cowbell holders to the proper time for their use of this now outrageous item. But then again, you would have to consider me and the rest of the “Maddon’s Maniacs” Fan Club as outlaws since we are some of the loudest participants to this “supposed” attendance decrease.

I can’t wait until they post a reward poster within Tropicana Field for my capture….just like our monkey friend in South St. Petersburg. And I got to advise you Mr Jones,you or any other authority faction will have to pry both my cowbell and my drumstick from my cold dead hands before I stop making my cowbell noise in the Trop…..You Count on it!



the attendance problems have yet to hit PNC Park hard…yet. opening day is always sold out, and dollar night brought 30,000 out to the yard. itll be interesting to see what happens this weekend when we host the reds. i for one will be at all 3 but will the faithful join me?

Hopefully up that way things are a bit more relaxed than here right now.
I know the stress of not working is killing me and my nerves, and it has been almost 3 years!
But then I was looking for a leteral move too and not downsizing in my profession.
Now I would work the fry station or drive-thru at Mickey D’s if the money was right.

Rays Renegade

It is sad when attendance is down at the ballparks. Baseball is such a nice family outing.
The price of tickets at Dodger Stadium went up for single tickets. However, season tickets and premium seating did not. Parking still is $15 which I think is high.

The Rays have faced this pospect of weekday slumps in attendance since 1999 and have seem the hills and valleys come from it since then.
I am not sure what the answer is, but putting a ballpark in the center of Tampa or anywhere else would not help if the same souls keeps coming in low numbers.
Honestly, I know teams have done enough promos and price slicing in regards to “family-sytle” entertainment options or special days.
People just have to remember the food and the action feel better in person than in your reclining massage chair with the full fridge.

Rays Renegade

Sensationalistic journalism for the sake of emoting a response and just saying something for arguments sake is rapidly becoming the norm. Sources, fact checking and the investigative process are no longer part of modern journalism.
Rumor, innuendo, and scuttlebutt are good enough for print these days. And the country eats it up. Sad. Good thing
St. Pete has you to keep the truth in perspective Double R.

You are not the first to say that to me the last few days.
Someone told me recently if it was not for the DRayBay, Rays Index, or my own simple opinions, we might all be drinking the Kool Aid that the St Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune dish out to use either online or in blogs posts.
I take my accuracy serious, and try to keep from having to say I am sorry or finding anything more than misspeliings at times in my work.
But that doesn’t matter, I am a blogger, which is the type of lifeform just have a seaslug (If you ask the National/Local Media hounds).

Rays Renegade

Good post, I enjoyed reading it. Dare I say, I agree? Factually accurate journalism is a thing of the past, unfortunately. There are so many media outlets these days, that journalists will look for any little story to break. Even if the story is made-up.

As a Yankees fan, I visited The Trop a few times, and the cowbells annoy me. They aggravate me beyond words. I would love nothing more than to see the day where those damn cowbells disappear…

… but isn’t that the point of having them?

There are lots of Yankees fans present at our games against the Rays in Tampa, the only way to drown us out completely is to ring those bells in a stadium where the echo is deafening. I believe the same is true when other teams visit The Trop.

That’s what you’re supposed to do at home games. You’re supposed to drown out the fans of the opposing team.

Obviously non-Rays fans will be annoyed by the cowbells, but I find it hard to believe that any Rays fan will complain. Not only is it too soon to be complaining about low attendance, and completely idiotic to blame it on cowbells, but it’s also 100% inaccurate. From what I’ve seen in the times at which I’ve been in Tropicana Field, Rays fans love those cowbells. To say that a “fan-favorite” is the reason fans don’t attend games is idiotic.

– Hiba
“Pretty In Pinstripes”

I have sat in the sames Sports Department cubbyhole at the St. Petersburg Times as columnist Tom Jones,but in those days my superior Mike Flannagan wanted up to date and accurate news and if there was a doubt in the opinion or fact, omit it for the sake of agrument.
Great thoughts, and I agree on so many of them. Rays fans do complain, but most of them are the die-hards who hold the “cowbell rules” as sacred as they do…..Well, their game wear.
People do hate the cowebells even on the television, but it is our way until we can grow a solid basis of chants and responses that the majority know by heart to combat other team’s noise. Yankee fan state it is a gimmick and should be outlawed by MLB….What about Yankee Roll Call? That is a NYY special gimmick/tradition. Maybe after 100 years the Rays will too have a solid tradition built on a few generations of Rays fans instead of still hovering in their first generation of Rays followers…most of them part-time.

Rays Renegade


You laugh at the Times for writing about Cowbells, but they are a problem. Most of the bells are small and only create a lot of noise when a lot of people are shaking them. No problem there.

Unfortunately some fans think it’s their Rays-given right to ring the damn things non-stop. Three years into the fad these fans still haven’t paid attention to pearly toothed Dick Crippen’s nighly pregame request to use their noisemakers respectfully.

The worst problem are the chumps that bang their oversized bells with a drum stick. Try spending one second anywhere near one of these people and you’ll get a real understanding of how obnoxious they can be. I got stuck sitting a few seats below one of these bangers during one ’08 playoff game against the White Sox. What should have been a wonderful experience turned into a two-day headache.

Personally I can’t stand the little upside down tin cups. I’d prefer to cheer, clap and boo at the appropriate times, but I guess there’s some good that comes from the tradition.

I know personally I try to educate some of the young fans who do not know better with cowbells and those pesky Thunderstixs during the Park and Rec Days.
Some section, like under the Jumbotron have their select groups of Jumbo Latin Percussion bangers, and people in that section need to police themselves, or let the Rays Fan Hosts earn their paychecks.
I used to bang mine during great Rays defensive plays or offensive attacks, plus a few times when the “Lets Go….(insert team)” chants get a bit loud.
I just find it incredibly lopsided to think that upside down tin cups is keeping fans away from the ballpark.
Heck I have scolded and tried to educate people on the cowbells, and most have listened and learned something new……….The others….Well, they are that group that move to the beat of a different cowbell.

Rays Renegade

I got around the silecing of my cowbells for my outfit by recorded it on my cellphone. It was not as loud so I was not disturbing anyone. I love the cowbells because of Hilda.

I only expected you to have fun wearing your Hilda costume because as we have seen by your posts…You love the history of the game of baseball.
It is only natural for you to gravitate towards one of its key female figures in history, and a famous Dodger woman in history.
The loudness displayed by that small upside down triangle of tin can be controled by the user. Most people do not use due dilligence and abuse the bell like it was on a fire engine.
I suspect even without knowing the rules of the cowbell, you performed admirably.

Rays Renegade


Cowbells – the use of any artificial noise maker during and major league game – is minor league. The use of cowbells by “fans” at the Tropicana is fuel more by liquid refreshment than real interest in baseball. It appears that I am like many who are staying away from Rays games – the cowbells are annoying for all real fans of the game and should be banned. I’m not aware of other major league teams who permit the use of artificial noise makers by fans. Other teams with less than long histories generate fan support without gimmicks. We need to do the same in Tampa Bay. Until then, I like apparently many others, will stay away from the Trop. It’s just not worth the long drive and increasingly expensive costs, including parking noted above, to see MLB at the Trop. Real MLB fans appreciate the game itself, not the useless noise from mechanical devices. We need improve our appreciation for the game in this region or we will lose our local access to MLB.


The original user of that “cowbell” was a matron ticket holder for the Brooklyn Dodgers named Hilda Chester who is a Dodger legend. Guess you might say they were ” minor league” then.
It is personal taste as to the way noise bothers you. I have been there the entire time of the “Cowbell Era” and have educated some people and also acosted people for abuse of the cowbells all game long.
We are building a tradition that the Bostons and New Yorks of the MLB have held for over 100 years, or at least 3 generations of their regional fans.
Rays have been here 13 years and exsist in a transient marketplace that envelopes traditions and time honored loyalties of people’s parents.

If you think cowbells are the devil, then you have never attended a Parks and Recreaction Day at the Trop with 20,000 Cheer (Thunder) stix going off the entire game. That is enough to make a sane person go postal.
When the region gains that generational love and support for the team, they toys and attention getting devices will fall by the wayside.
I can respect your decision to stay home, but I hope you are part of that surging home sudience that is showing that the support is there by the increased viewership.
By the way, it is the organization as a whole who is continuing to support the cowbell, not just the fans. But in reality, the cowbells have gotten smaller in some areas of the stadium….Which might mean we are finding alternative ways to voice our support. I know I put my big cowbell down before the 2009 season and I clap and cheer and ring the small one with 2 strikes on a batter or after the Rays score or provide a “web gem” moment.

Rays Renegade

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