Lost Some Respect for You Stu.

Everyone knows by now that I am a homegrown product of the Tampa Bay area. That I sweat suntan oil and bleed Orange juice along with a bit of a Southern twang. I take the comments and the rants towards this region very personally, as if it was an old friend, and I would defend this region to my last breathe.

Maybe it is my “native” instinct to get rattled and upset when someone has the gumption to shake the trademark Florida “status Quo” tree and a few coconuts fall on my head. Possibly I can be labeled as stubborn and opinionated since I have always taken anything spoken by someone who has traveled from above the Mason-Dixon line with a bit of apprehension. Possibly I fit the stereotype to a “T”, especially a Rays “T”.

It broke my heart to hear the comments by Sternberg while the Rays postseason corpse was still warm. Maybe it was my upbringing that such discussions should not be made during a “wake” period. It did not seem like the right moment, or the place to pull the attendance skeleton out of the closet and thrust it to the forefront.

Out of respect for the outstanding job his Rays had done since they first reported in mid-February, Sternberg should have left that door shut tight. This was a time for Sternberg to accent the positives, give us all time to reflect, for him to sign the praises of future encouragement or possible enlightenment, not use words like “disappointment” and “frustrated” bringing to light a negative vibe within the region.

It was the time to push enthusiasm to the dome’s ceiling, not bring this highly volatile subject/ Rays dirty laundry to the table. It smelled entirely as a businessman’s move, not one I would have expected from someone who claims to be a “sports fan who is an MLB owner”. What seemed to make it all worse is the pure fact it has firmly opened the door for the National media to again take turns trouncing the Rays franchise, drown it over and over again with negativism.

I agree this situation merits a move towards letting the “rubber meet the road”, but why on that day. Why is it that this subject had to be vented while in the background you see Rays Manager Joe Madden shaking hands with a Rays trainer and players and staffers stuffing moving boxes with gear. Could this subject had waited at least until the dust had settled and emotions were not so tainted towards negativity? I would think that would be the “Rays Way”?

I have to admit this video might have just further alienated some fans within the Rays Republics who want to be at Rays games, and feel terrible daily they can not be there because of monetary restraints. I know for a fact that some yearn to be in the seats Stu, but can’t for fear of losing their bare necessities in life. Sure you can say a TBT Deck seat is $5, but what if you do not have that $5?

Way to thrust the dagger deeper into my Rays heart less than 24 hours after watching the Rays again fall to the Texas Rangers in the American League Divisional Series. I know you were speaking from the Rays businessman’s side and not as a Rays fan. Why could you not focus on the pure fact 30,000+ members of the Rays Republic filled your stadium on 2 weekday contests on particularly hectic October sports dates.

The Monday late afternoon Game 3 of the ALDS came just hours before a Nationally broadcast of “Monday Night Football” held just 25 miles away. Rays fans did not hesitate to sell out that ALDS contest fast and furious even though some wanted to attend both contests. Then the Rays Republic was subjected to a early afternoon matinée for Game 4 that frustrated some, and alienated others due to the Rays marketability compared to the Yankees historic mystic. Why no applaud that collective showing of the support and pride of this region for the Rays. Instead you picked it as a moment to drive the knife deeper, inflict a little more pain and suffering, submit us all back into the realization that baseball is a business and you are a business man.

Not even a day after your comments Stu, National media talking heads have pushed their slanted agenda’s to purge this region of it’s baseball lifeline. Rip the baseball heart out of this community like it was a piece of trash and stomp on it until it is left lifeless and limp. Whispers have emerged that the Tampa Bay baseball market is dead, that the regional apathy is so severe it pales in comparison to the rest of the MLB franchises. Yet, 30,000+ sat in your stadium when they could have spent their money in other areas of entertainment.

I understand the Rays attendance fugitives fell 15% under your estimated wants and needs for the franchise, but there is reasoning for it. People in regions with double digit unemployment and finicky employers have make a choice. It is not personal, it is a decision I know I personally did not want to make. If I could have lived in a box and still paid for my Rays tickets, it would have been a done deal with no hesitation.

I’m not saying the Rays descending attendance issue is not important and it surely merits a microscopes view,but your present timing sucks. You lost a lot of those bonus points I have attributed to you Stu over the past 5 years. I understand your want to bring this to the surface, but not at a moment like that with the carcass of your team’s defeat still vivid in our mind’s eye. Timing is everything in business. If you bring a product to market too early or too late you can find yourself in a financial tailspin completely out of your control. This was not a PR nightmare, but you did not make any more new Rays friends, and possibly lost one Rays fan who used to breathe this team like oxygen and lived and died by their play.

Just sayin’.

4 Comments

The timing was horrible, it really was. I think he just blurted it out from frustration and was really thinking clearly. It was a mistake, but hopefully it won’t grow into a big scene.
The Rays Rant- http://yossif.mlblogs.com/

Yossif,
I used to be one of those guys with the mic stuck in the face of the atheletic/owner looking for that special story. I honestly think we got just a small sampling of everything Stu said, but it was enough to start a firestorm of conversation. Timing is everything in sports both on and off the field. I know he talked more than 2 minutes that day, where id the rest of the conversation? That might be the missing link to this frustrating puzzle…

Yes, it depressed me, too. We had World Series tix and we have 2012 spring training tix and we have 2012 regular season tix and I wish the owners would remember that there are fans like us, too.

Grace,
I think Stu is meaning well, but he lost sight of the realism that this region was kicked in the belly not once, but twice by financial setbacks. First was the recession, then the BP oil spill even though it never reached our shores hit the tourist industry like a Hurricane. Hopefully by the Spring of 2012 some of that upward turn will hit this region, then more fans will pass through the rotunda into games.

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