If You Remove Them, They will Come!
With the Tampa Bay Rays pulling off a miracle of their own today in Arlington, Texas, you would hope that Major League Baseball hierarchy, which takes over the prospective team’s stadium (Tropicana Field) for the postseason would possibly even entertain the far fetched thought of uncovering the 5,762 seats currently hidden under a veil of blue plastic in Tropicana Field’s Upper Deck.
For the entire 2010 season, MLB has stood silent and let more than a few National and local media sources batter and bewilder the Rays front office with the team’s visual weekday 2010 attendance woes. With attendance down in every ballpark within the MLB kingdom, they let the media pound the Tampa Bay community as MLB’s (New York) office took a back seat totally within the dark shadows.
Boasting sell-out crowd in both Game 1 and Game 2 , both in the afternoon of the first round of the American League Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers, you would think maybe it was time for MLB and the Rays front office to possibly re-discuss and jointly decide to uncover the dusty obstructed view Upper Deck seats and get a few more excited and extra revenue inducing Rays Republicans in those lofty seats.
MLB’s executive offices (in New York City) had been more than firm with the Rays front office even as far back as 2008 on their on-going commitment to not even let the local Rays consider removing those blue tarps until the team possibly advances to the 2010 World Series. Even if www.raysbaseball.com would conveniently sell out their remaining Game 5 tickets before 10 am on Monday when tickets are available to the general public, MLB will stand concrete in their previous decisions to leave the blue tarps upon the Upper 300′s section’s seats.
Gone is the common sense mentality that even with a fast sell out of online tickets, opening this previously tarp-covered region would go deaf upon MLB’s ears even with a nice monetary incentive of deciding removing the tarps and providing extra vocal and unexpected revenues towards the postseason money pot.
The only other time the MLB has given the Rays Front Office permission to sell those seats was in September 2008 when MLB decided to unwrap the high level seats for Game 6 and Game 7 of the American League Championship Series with the Rays playing their usual sell-out opponent, the Boston Red Sox. That small decision increased the Tropicana Field capacity from 36,048 to an audio-popping 42,048 fanatics. But if the Rays can logically sell out those extra 5,762 seats before issuing Standing Room Only (SRO) seating in the lower bowl, isn’t it a “win-win” opportunity for the Rays and MLB in the long run?
But maybe that is the problem with my logic. It makes sense, and usually that kind of rhetoric doesn’t apply well with the aspects of unforeseen money and a possible variable of ticket revenues that would have to be eventually pushed into the playoff pot and divided accordingly with the MLB, the teams and with the players. With the aspect of expendable money at a premium in this Tampa Bay region, if a Rays fans, or any baseball fan want to throw their money at you , wouldn’t you be foolish to push them away towards game day refuge at a local Sports bars or sitting at home watching on television and loosing that instant revenue?
MLB could give the Tampa Bay region the ammunition right now to fight back the well disguised ruse of our overall attendance situation and show that this Tampa Bay region is a great baseball community by providing additional seats by removing the tarps that some view as a hindrance to this community getting total respect from the Baseball World.
By MLB giving the Rays Front Office even the remote possibility or permission to tuck those tarps away for this deciding ALDS game could be viewed as their admittance that this region can sell seats and give the wrong impression to the rest of the Baseball World.
If MLB does grant this request, it would be like the MLB hierarchy is not condemning the low seasonal attendance, and instead maybe rewarding the bandwagon fans who might be here just for the ALDS game, then revert back to their usual viewing habits. What could be viewed as a great “win-win” situation for the organizations involved might in fact trigger a external discussion on why this facility is not suitable for baseball.
There is no way that MLB will open the forbidden “Pandora’s Box” of the Rays impending stadium situation by giving something to reward the few Rays Republic faithful who still seek to attend a ALDS game. It is sad, but true. Baseball is a huge industry that will not intentionally put itself in a bad light towards the Rays future situation.
But why is it that the possibility of removing a few blue tarps in the Trop’s Upper Deck being treated like a political red herring instead of an opportunity to entice and gather more Tampa Bay community fans to the Major League Baseball community. MLB has said in the past that Tropicana Field present ( with tarps) capacity provides an intimate setting for baseball. That might be true, but wouldn’t 5,762 extra fans yelling ,screaming and spending their money make MLB and the Rays smile from ear-to-ear.
If you need someone to help clean, unwrap or even dust those seats before Tuesday, give me a call. I will do whatever I can to get an extra 5,762 extra members of the Rays Republic into those seats and make the Trop shake with enough noise and thunderous movement to set off a seismometer somewhere in the Southeast.