Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
Why Reopen this Rays Wound Now?
Sometimes this whole Tampa Bay Rays attendance situation feels to me like a cut or a scratch that never seems to want to heal. Just when you think it has finally growing some new skin of its own, it get broken again and you have to dab it with some Neosporin or Aloe Vera to promote the healing process all over from scratch. You want the itching and the clawing of opinions to just go away, but all you can do is keep dabbing the ointment and hope that one day, the final healing process will begin.
It was fine with me when the National and local Media threw their two cents into the ringer on this issue considering I have lost so much respect for the National talking heads (ESPN) and the local fish wrap (St. Petersburg Times) since they were the main culprits in re-opening the wound for such a ling time during this 2010 season. But lately, the infestation has crept into the sanctuary of the Rays clubhouse as the media wishes to expand the illness and infest others into the battle.
First the media got Rays Manager Joe Maddon to speak his mind about the issue, and it was front page fodder. Maddon had inadvertently gone into the media “company line” and protested the lack of fans in the seats earlier in the Rays season, and somewhere in the darkness, the media editors were smiling like Cheshire Cats. They had the Big Kahuna of Rays fandom denouncing the decrease in fans in the seats, but no answers spilled from the Rays skipper on how to correct this ailment.
And the media finally bagged another big fish when they got Evan Longoria, who has not played since last Thursday night to chime in his personal two-cents on the lack of Rays fans in the seats.
“I don’t think there’ any more time for rationalizations. We figured if we have a chance at the beginning of September then maybe the fans will come and now it’s the end of September and its almost October and were still kind of looking up in the seats going where is everybody?”
You got to admire theory of Longoria, who it has been told is healthy enough to play if asked, but is sitting on the bench as a precursor to a healthy playoff push by the Rays. But what has got me to lose some respect points with Longoria is the honest fact he somehow forgot where he plays baseball:
“Obviously we want to bring a championship to Tampa. And we’d like more than 12,000 to 15,000 to know about it.”
The media sirens also honed in last night and got a major coup by capturing Rays All Star David Price in their ever growing circle of attendance disappointment. Price ended up posting a comment on his Twitter page about the lack of fan support.
DAVIDprice14 david price “Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands…embarrassing”
Then a few hours later, Price might have been schooled by some of his close allies that it might have seemed a bit empathetic to the plight of most of the Tampa Bay Rays fans personal choices in regards to attending games and issued a small apology making it seem like the emotions churning in the Rays clubhouse possibly influenced his outburst
DAVIDprice14 david price
“If I offended anyone I apologize I did not think it was gonna turn into this…”
The difference in Longoria and Price’s responses compared to the media’s usual firestorm towards the Rays fan base is pretty simple to me. Longoria is a budding leader of massive proportions in this Rays clubhouse, and he might have felt a personal obligation to stoke the fires a bit, but I know he did not mean to make the attack malice or laced in personal agendas unlike the St Petersburg Times. I do however find huge problems with Longoria thinking he goes to work in “Tampa” and not St. Petersburg, but then again, I am extremely proud of this town.
Both Price and Longoria were expressing their own personal feelings and emotions with the Rays fourth smallest crowd of the season. I totally get that, and do feel that this was a time for this community to post up and show their support. But then again I was coached at a younger age to see positives and evoke positives out of a negative situation. It is easy for people in today’s World to focus on the slight negative situations instead of exposing a more positive and encroaching enthusiasm through positive speech.
How easier would it have been for either player to have provided positive comments or even a plea for the fans in this Tampa Bay area to come out and celebrate with the Rays on Tuesday night. Push out a request, a invitation for the Tampa Bay community to join the 10,000+ Rays faithful fans to come celebrate a great 2010 Rays season and toast to a impending playoff campaign.
By the actions and comments of either of these Rays players throwing out positive affirmations and showing “open arms” to inviting the community to their party, the message might not have put some on their heels or even commenting negatively towards Longoria or Price. Positive motivation might get more people in the stands instead of the negative comment of two guys making extreme salaries as opposed to most in Tampa Bay right now.
Opening this ever festering wound of low attendance at this critical point has some beads of merits, but it also could evoke little positive rewards by badgering a community already on it’s heels after tall tales of oil on our beaches and mass unemployment in our community. Alienating some within the Tampa Bay community before an important last two home games and a solid push towards the post season might send some away from the Rays box offices.
Positive emotions and words right now will have people coming to the Trop for the next two games. Finding fault, pushing blame or even attacking those who pay your salary is not productive at this point. It is disappointing to see the army of empty blue seats overshadowing the Rays and their fan base.
Only answer to that is simply to invite the Tampa Bay community to come down tonight or tomorrow and celebrate with friends, family and other Rays fans as this team finishes their primary goal of getting back into the post season. To get that usual FSN/Sunsports broadcast watcher to want to experience this celebration firsthand with his local community friends and neighbors in a positive light, not by pushing him deeper into his Baca lounger with tales of nonsupport and not deserving baseball.
Some people forget that Rays Baseball is a business. With that in mid, if a business or its “employees” constantly admonished my self worth with negative comments addressed towards me for not buying their wares, then my desire for their goods and entertainment would be moot and I would partake in other options. There might lie the root of the whole enchilada.
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