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.