Results tagged ‘ St Pete Times ’

Why am I Surprised this Happened Tonight


I am not sure why I am taking this Tampa Bay Rays attendance smack down so personally. For some reason I firmly believed a question was positioned towards two of the Rays high visibility team members and they drank the usual media Kool-Aid being portioned out by the St. Petersburg Times and a few other local fish wraps.

For some reason the Times doesn’t provide the information that the Rays have drawn an astonishing 8th best attendance in the MLB based on per capita numbers. I bet if the Yankees ( or any other team ) was born here 13 years ago, they would have about the same attendance numbers based on the Tampa Bay regional per capita population (4,028,749 -2008 estimate).

I guess I take it a bit personally since I have only missed one game in the last two seasons, and will (hopefully) hit a perfecto ( 81 games) when the Rays finally end their 2010 home schedule on Wednesday, September 29th. What internally pains me so much is the fact that the hidden agenda or despicable propaganda of the Times finally got funneled down into the Rays clubhouse, and Carl Crawford and Rays Manager Joe Maddon might have been a bit nudged to take a huge swig of the addictive Kool-Aid without knowing it.

For some reason the local media thought it was a great idea to take the focus off a great Toronto versus Rays game and turn the immediate focus towards the blue-seat monsters that tend to gobble up Rays fans and make them invisible for their Monday night contests. Is it any wonder that the Times or any of the other media monglers took it right to Crawford and Maddon tonight knowing that there was visibly less than the announced 11,968 fannies in the seats tonight. Why did the Times have to go and beat this decaying dead horse carcass over and over again tonight.

I am not proud of the Rays attendance tonight, but I also have a bit more class and respect for those faithful Rays fans that hit the ticket takers every night and have to keep hearing this same old song being played by the Times whenever they can get a chance to pop that song and dance online for everyone else in the World to see again and again. I personally know who the economy and unemployment have trashed this Tampa Bay region and have made even the most loyal Rays fan winch and rethink their usual obsessive passion for attending multiple Rays games.


To keep pushing this same drawn out issue fully down people’s throats when they have enough troubles away from the Trop’s doors. I was told today about at least 1,000 people who either bought their tickets online, or got them from friends who thought Sunday’s Rays game was still at 1:40 pm instead of 8 pm. I wonder how many of those fans actually stayed in the St. Petersburg area waiting for the Trop’s doors to open at 6:10 pm. My guess is that a good percentage of them either tossed their tickets, or tried to find someone in the local sports bars to purchase their tickets and call it a day.

I can firmly predict within the next 48 hours even if the Rays draw 30,000+ to the final two games of this home stand, someone on the current local media “blogs” in the Tampa Bay area fish wraps will condemn the fans and want immediate answers or solutions. It saddens me that this region and the devoted fans of the Rays have to keep hearing this trash day after day when they fulfill their end of the bargain. Sure the oil spill doesn’t extend within the doorways of Tropicana Field, but it has kept people away.

If you take the three dates of low Rays game attendance this season, the immediate factor that leaps out at you is that all three were games held during the times when Tampa Bay area schools were in session. The previously low points in Rays crowds were during a stretch from April 27th and 28th when the announced attendance was 10,825 and 10,691 respectfully during an Oakland A’s series. I went back into my blog posts that month and also found that I addressed this same factor back on April 28th and I wrote a blog post about media negativity. When will this evil cycle of the Times badgering this issue end?

You can bet that the Rays will get a bit of a shock on September 9th when the Rays Season Ticket holders Postseason money is suppose to be into the team that there will be a marked decrease in people buying the possible 10-game postseason packages. I know for a fact that a few of the people I have spoke with would love to be a part of the Rays run in October, but their finances will prohibit their involvement. But I guess then we will have to endure another Times propaganda slam that “we do not care about this team and are a bunch of fair weather fans and might have finally fallen off our bandwagon”.


But that is what the media has been doing for years. When I took my first journalism class in college, they called these type of tactics “yellow journalism” that originated in the 19th Century and newspapers produced sensational stories that were produced to excite or anger the public more than to inform them. Sometimes media people forget that the story is not in the lack of people in the seat at Tropicana Field, but why they are not there.

Understandably school kids will be absent, which goes along with their parents also not attending. If you go out on the streets wearing a Rays cap, like I do every day, you know people are talking about the team and are excited. Sure I am ashamed that some night we creep back into vintage before 2007 Rays attendance figures, but that is to be expected both when school is in session and the economy is tragically taking a little bit more from each and every one of us every day.

I have hidden my financial heartbreaks all season long to support my team, and take it as a personal attack when the Times and other news sources begin to beat this again and again into the ground not providing any remedies or solutions, but pushing the issue like they understand it all. I am one of those people who pay for my own tickets before the season begins and have them in my possession from the Rays Opening Day to their last out of their final contest.

If I had not bought those tickets before the season began, I would certainly be one of those people the Times would be berating tonight.

I want the local media to do an experiment for me. Pop down out of your Carolina blue Press Box seats for one game and sit in the seat with the fans and you will see the energy is there. That the spirit of those following this team are not lost or forsaken, but are audibly alive and well.
My father told me once that the best things in life should be based on quality, not quantity. But for some reason, the Times and the other media members seem to dwell on this “quantity” issue more than the “quality” of baseball being played in the field, and the increasing “quality” of the type of fans who will always be here to support this team.

I Hate Media Negativity


I was sitting the stands last night and people just seem to want to harp and gripe on these so-called “attendance woes” that the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be having after just 12 total home games into the 2010 season. I get sick sometimes of reminding the Rays Republic that these short weekday night time series like the past two-game series against the Oakland Athletics have been traditionally produced some of the worst attended Rays games over their entire past 12 years. These series against non-rival foes, during the work week have never produced substantial attendance number so early in the season.

But it seems to be the local Tampa Bay regional media’s short term plan to push the sluggish attendance situation needle down firmly into the red danger zone and provide some often misleading attendance perceptions surrounding this past Oakland series numbers. I personally hold the local media accountable for some of the present “doom and gloom” that is being felt within the confines of Tropicana Field on game days/nights. It is throwing a false sense of impending Rays disaster concerning the future of this Rays team staying in this region when you focus your attention on attendance numbers on not only a two-game weekday series, but against a team that is traditionally a low Rays crowd producer.

Lost in your articles and comments is the fact that Rays games held from Tuesday through Friday have been a source of constant Rays concern over the past 12 seasons, not just during this 6-game home stand. And the biggest gripe I have right now is why you are bringing up this garbage with two team like Kansas City and Oakland visiting Tropicana Field and not waiting until May 24-30th when Boston and Chicago come calling to Tropicana Field for the first time in 2010. Waiting until a traditionally high attended series to focus on these “woes” seems warranting at least a good cross reference of attendance figures.

But the recent attendance badgering by the local media, both in print and broadcast seem to show they are fine tuning their sights towards this small segment of the Rays home schedule which actually is a bit premature and totally out of context in my view. Sure there were less than 11,000 here on recent nights, but also lost in the shuffle is that there were no stadium giveaways or game day events or entertainment value offered to get Rays fans with kids or adults out to the ballpark during the work week. And you have guess that the Rays Sales Department is fuming over the media focusing on two game instead of a possible huge upswing in the last four days of the home stand when on Friday the team will give away a Rays collector’s item James Shield-inspired T-shirt, plus a post game fireworks show.

If you throw in the estimated 30,000+ Rays crowd expected for the team’s “Hall of Fame” night on Saturday night, which will conclude with a Rays /Hess Express Saturday Night Concert by blues rockers Z Z Top, plus the always popular Rays St.Petersburg Times Fun Day on Sunday, where a family of four can attend a game for $ 40, then you have the making of pure instant upward trend in attendance numbers. One of the constant complaints I have with our instant media today is the furious ebb and flow of positive and negative information that can be veiled by hidden agendas and information, but voiced within milliseconds around the globe, and can not be deleted or taken back after the truth is exposed.


The stark reality here in the Tampa Bay region is that we live in a constant flux of fiscal daily decisions that offers substantial options for our disposable entertainment dollars. And the one constant fact that can show that the Rays have the community support and an indirect call to the area’s passion for the team is the ever increasing Rays Radio and Television broadcast share numbers that instantly illustrate that the Rays Republic is out there, but might just not have the financial means to attend as many games this season as in the past.

With the local media minds dwelling on the negatives and dumping the positives in a bag and throwing it away, they are producing an National negative image and a false connotation of this region’s love for the game of baseball. And it might take multiple enthusiastic articles or positive-based columns to effectively reverse the course of the rest of the Nation’s perception of this team’s fan base. One local fish wrap is re-posting past articles on the Rays stadium situation, while anther harps on the recent attendance number after only 12 home games.

I think we need a collective compromise here. Maybe the people sitting in the Rays Press Box need to just come down and watch a Rays game from field level again.
Feel that rush of emotion and passion that encompasses this entire stadium when the team takes the field. Maybe get hit in the face by the rush of passion for the game again from a well timed hit, or a Rays player crossing the plate to provide the winning run. Maybe the media members need to again become fans of the game and not always see themselves as stark sentinels of the game.

Baseball is a live and breathing entity that constantly changes and they might have lost that aspect of the game in their collective isolation up in the Press Box. Sure they can hear the crowd cheering in the Press Box. They can ever see and sense the ebb and flow of the game, but they might just need to experience the game again from field level to get engulfed into positives of the game again. Negativity breeds negativity, but the rush of positive energy and enthusiasm that is currently swirling during Rays game needs to again embrace those in the Press Box.

If you want, come on down to my section in the stadium sometimes and get a wide view of what is really going on within the confines of Tropicana Field. All the action doesn’t always happen on the field. I can promise you will see emotion and passion you do not see so far up in the Press Box. I can guarantee you will again feel a sense of value in even low numbers in the stands. The passionate fans are here now, and the rest will follow soon enough when the records and the end of the season nears again.


Biased reporting and hidden agendas and excluding vital factual information is a tool of the media, but it could backfire on all of us and not drive the attendance upward but stagnate it and possibly reverse it. This is a great crowd of people that feel alienated and confused by your recent articles. The Rays fan is seeking the truth and trying to judge for themselves if maybe there is darkness on the horizon. Doubt is a terrible thing to have in your heart and mind. It cloud the generalization of positive things and draws in the negative like a sponge.

Not saying you should just do light and fluffy pieces the rest of the season, but maybe spreading some of that enlightened positive Rays of light through your columns and articles might just get a new influx of fans into the stadium……Just think about it.