There has always been so much talk, in the media and with us on here about the Rays future in tampa bay.
Has anyone ever recalled a situation like this. A team that has a great 5 year ( OR SO ) run, and they still couldn't draw a decent attendance. Then "moved" 30 miles or so- north, south, east or west to a new stadium. And things got any better after the first year of the new stadium???
Most of us are from all parts of the country, so i am interested if anyone knows???
"Perhaps using the word "great" in your rhetorical premise"
Ok I'll break it down for you.
The obvious:It WAS a GREAT 5 years for the rays as it relates to great exciting baseball to the end of EVERY season. Great exciting baseball SHOULD put people in the stands...ok (higher attendance). If the rays won the world series last year would that have put more people in the stands in the regular season game in game out??? ehhhhh...nope.
And every season they had prior, no matter how they finished- because they were always sooooo close, should give ANY baseball fan excitement and anticipation for the next upcoming season and go to the games. My point was that in Tampa, it did not.
Which does not make it a "rhetorical premise" just a little question to some baseball fans.
Oh yeah and one more thing, wowwee wow wow wow
OK, using the "for the rays" qualifier combined with the now commonplace fan hyperbole of words like "great," "awesome," "fantastic," etc. I'll bide your assumption. And, you are quite correct regarding Tampa's fan excitement and expectation. As I said, this is not a 'great' sports team area, so it's not that much of a mystery. I'd guess our transplanted population worries more about these things than we natives do, but many of them hold allegiances to other teams/sports anyway, so...
As to "wowwee wow wow wow"...whatever. That is simply beyond my level of 'English' study.
Ok we're good...
....as for the wowwee wow wow part, you'll have to excuse me , its my accounting background
"wowwee wow wow"
It's a Jersey thing.
don't blame jersey for this, they get blamed for enough (mostly deservingly so-lol). I'm flying solo on that remark. sometimes I write faster than I can think.
yeah, about blaming Jersey, thanks alot gov. christie, ok... terrific
I agree with much of your comment and, according to MLB's own studies ... the two key ingredients in a team's attendance are (1.) consistent winning; and, (2.) longevity. In comparison to the PERENNIAL top teams ... the Rays certainly haven't won enough and, more importantly, they sure haven't been around long enough to establish a winning tradition (and they haven't won ANY of "the big ones").
Beyond that ... and from an historical perspective ... the small market teams, for the most part, are never going to be elevated to "traditional top team" status. It's just the way it is ... and it's how the business is constituted. The Marlins prove the point pretty contemporaneously: TWO World Series championships in their first ten seasons ... a new, over-the-top, $675 million stadium ... a marketplace with nearly double the population of the greater Tampa Bay area ... and a marketplace with convenient rail-based public transportation from as far as 60-75 miles away in the team's primary poplation corridor ... BUT ... while nearly double the population of the Tampa Bay area ... still a small-market team ... not around long enough ... not enough winning.
The Rays are what they are ... and a new stadium in Tampa or anywhere else in the area is NOT going to make any kind of a substantial or substantive difference in anything ... EXCEPT ... st*cking whomever is simplistically swayed enough to put up the $700+ million with a bad debt ultimately impossible to repay.
As it is, there are two levels of baseball within the 30-teams of MLB ... the Traditional Top Tier, of give-or-take, the ten or a dozen teams in the largest markets ... and the "We Try Harder" Tier ... the remaining 18 or 20 teams in the small markets, including the few most recent expansion teams ... i.e. ... The Fatcats and The Po' Boys. The two leagues ought to be realigned and re-named on that basis ... and each team should play primarily just within the own league.
As they say ... it is what it is.
Does "Great Opera" inevitably draw you to the opera house?
Does "Great Classical Music" inevitably draw you to the music hall?
Does "Great Ballet" inevitably draw you to the theater?
If people simply are not big fans of major league baseball in this area ... especially fans of an expansion team with a checkered past and a current owner who constantly puts down his own venue and its location ... then they're simply not fans of major league baseball. Period. Simple. End of case.
(And the most glorious opera house ... the most awesome concert hall ... and the most wondrous theater ... all conveniently-located ... will also NOT convert people into becoming dedicated fans of opera, classical music or the ballet.)
This market area of some 3.6 million people may simply not have enough inherent MLB interest to support a team anymore than it has over the past five seasons, i.e., with average total attendance over the total period in the low twenty-thousands per game. (?) (Similarly to the Marlins.)
The "oldtampian" has it right.
And the natives know!
And the newcomers don't!
"As it is, there are two levels of baseball within the 30-teams of MLB ... the Traditional Top Tier, of give-or-take, the ten or a dozen teams in the largest markets ... and the "We Try Harder" Tier ... the remaining 18 or 20 teams in the small markets, including the few most recent expansion teams ... i.e. ... The Fatcats and The Po' Boys. The two leagues ought to be realigned and re-named on that basis ... and each team should play primarily just within the own league."
Pretty good stuff, but there already are "two leagues"...the minors and the majors. Several of the "major" league teams are simply "minor" league teams wearing big boy pants. Until recently, the Rays were counted in bottom tier of that pretender group. Then, and other franchises have accomplished this also, the St. Pete bunch fought/earned its way into big league recognition. And, they've had a decent run, though the hardware to show for it exposes their original root shortcomings. The team relies on their pitcher's arms to beat opponents, and its best position player is more of a media-darling than a potential Hall of Fame hitter. Over the long haul, and without the means/desire to get a couple of 'real' big league types, the Rays' best hope will be to simply hold on. The fanbase being what it is, and a new stadium notwithstanding, being a 'contender'...with an occasional 'pretender' season thrown in... is probably as good as it's gonna get.
And ... even if the Rays are able to keep their top-tier starting and relief pitching, above-average defensive play, and team speed coming ... it's still going to take a pretty big dose of good luck to win, too! You just can't consistently win championships in baseball ... at any level ... with a team batting average that's routinely in the .230s or .240s ... EVEN WITH very good pitching, defense and team speed.
Unfortunately, the Rays' personnel selection and development system has not been generating consistently decent hitters over the last half-dozen years especially ... and ... that's typically where the traditional top teams in the major markets ... the FatCats ... regularly spend most of their money.
And, maybe, using an extension of the designations already being used in the minor leagues ... maybe the second-tier of small market MLB teams should simply be designated "AAAA" ... and the top ten or dozen major market teams "the Major League". (?)
In any event, if your contention truly represents reality, then (1.) as has often been said since the days of the 16-team MLB ... "There's just not enough top-shelf talent to spread around to 30 teams!"; and, (2.) most MLB fans today are really fans of "Advanced Triple-A" or "4A" ... and those who don't, can't, won't appreciate "4A" baseball ... have no other choice but to follow the traditional major-market FatCat teams. (???) (Pretty easy to do from any geographical location in today's "wired" world.)
I was a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees and AL fan all my life (beginning at age 4 or 5) and was never really interested in the National league at all ... until the Marlins arrived on the scene in 1993 and became "my National League team" (although ... I enjoyed the "Amazin's" when they first appeared!) ... BUT ... I gave up on the Yankees (and the rest of the FatCat teams ... AND the bloated and obese playoffs) once the Rays arrived. And, at this point, my only interest, really, is in the regular season AL East Rays, Jays and Os ... with a small generic interest in one or two of the small-market AL teams like KC, Seattle, etc.
And ... I get my primary chuckles when the Rays and some of the other Po' Boys consistently knock off the FatCats ... during the regular season. And ... just seeing if any of the Po' Boys I happen to follow actually get into the playoffs is the satisfactory end-all-and-be-all to me. Once the regular MLB season ends ... I'm on a "sports break" until the college basketball season begins ... followed by college baseball right after the holidays!
So ... I'd have to say that your description ... "being a 'contender'...with an occasional 'pretender' season thrown in... is probably as good as it's gonna get" ... works for me.
Consistently winning in the 85-89 range ... finishing not worse than 3rd in the AL East ... knocking off some FatCats along the way ... and actually getting into the playoffs once-in-a-while ... while at least being consistently entertaining (rather than consistently playing ugly as this past season's team did) ... is really all I'm looking for. Anything beyond that is for the BandWagon Fans!
My focus is really only on the regular-season games on the field ... and only on one game at a time.
Amen for the most part.
For me, the Rays provide an entertaining opportunity to maintain a connection to a game I once played and coached ... and following the team serves as a replacement for all the backyard pitching and hitting practice and all the official practices and games over many, many years involving two kids who played ball pretty competitively from early on through their high school years. The key word for me is ... "entertaining" ... and while winning is important ... it's the daily ebb-and-flow of the game on the field that I find entertaining ... including the machinations of the manager, coaches and front office! For me, I get a kick out of the Rays ... pretty much as is! BUT ... I certainly don't "live for baseball" ... nor especially for MLB INC.
While the Tampa Bay area has a history of spring training MLB, it didn't have a history of having a ML team until 1998. Longevity is a factor in supporting a team as kids grow up and take their kids to the game just as their parents did when they were young. Thre Rays have been in existance for less than one generation for the team to benefit fully at the box office from longevity.
Also, the Rays most of their first decade in existance was very poor as they lost close to 100 games each season. Potential fans didn't come out to the Trop to see a team lose and lose.
But, when the first round draft picks started paying off w/ more victories, the attendance started to improve. They went from about 9,000 per game to about 20,000+now.
Also, the Rays are in a small market so their potential of a fan base is smaller than the Mets, Dodgers, etc.
In addition, the per capita income of this area isn't as high as some other teams. So, dropping $20 to park is not small change. This speaks to the biggest problem w/ the Rays attendance: the entire area, whether St. Pete or Tampa has VERY poor public transportation. Public transportation is a way for the young guy and gal or the working stiff who also has support his family to get to a game for very little money. Even traveling from Largo to the Trop takes 2 hours by bus. That's four hours of travel time to see a game (assuming the bus is still running when the game is over).
But the Rays attendance has more than doubled since their losing days. Also, many more watch them on TV which means their new TV contract will be more lucrative to hopefully pick up a top shelf free agent next year.
But the public officials in the area and in Tallahassee have to step up and provide improved public transit, much of which is financed by federal funds.