Is there something wrong with the Tampa Bay Rays? Do their powder blue jerseys and horizontal striped socks deter you from going to games? Because I am here to tell you that they usually don’t wear them. The question that arises is why the Tampa Bay Rays were last in fan support last season, and almost every single season of their existence.
With a new season and high expectations, the Rays are making what looks like so far, little to no improvements in fan support. It is beyond pitiful that they can’t even fill up half the stadium but yet the team has recorded 90 wins or more in the past 3 seasons as well as 84 in 2009 and 97 in the 2008 season; which by the way they made it to the World Series that year too.
The Rays have averaged a whopping 18,756 fans per game since the team was established in 1998. Is the stadium below par? The answer is yes. But does that mean fans shouldn’t support a team that is successful, and has star players in Evan Longoria and David Price? The answer is no.
It is a rare occasion when a team as successful as the Rays has such a little amount of fan support, especially knowing the division that they play in. Even the worst team in the league, the Houston Astros who only had 55 wins, produced more fan support than the rays.
As a baseball player I know that when I step out on that field I am not looking at who is at the game but when there is nobody in the stands it’s strikingly clear. I recently went to the Rays second game of the season and I could have sat in any seat in the ballpark that night. As a matter of fact I never even sat in the seat that I originally paid for. Granted it was a weekday and most people are too tired when they get home from work but what is their excuse on the weekends?
The lack of fan support is going to drive away the players who want to be known throughout the league as a serious player, like Evan Longoria and David Price. Not only will it drive them away but the lack of fan support will also be unattractive for many free agents and they wont look to sign with the Rays.
I can’t stress enough the point of this column; it is to show you Tampa Bay residents that your Rays need some support! Get out there and show those players that you appreciate what they have accomplished in previous years and what they are still accomplishing today. They are playing for you and this city and the least you could do is to show them that you care.