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!