Results tagged ‘ St. Petersburg Times ’
It was the Tampa Bay Rays stadium conversation and whiplash response most members of the Rays Republic knew was just peeking above the horizon. The Tampa Bay community as a whole had hoped such a cold water splash in our faces would have a more postmarked expiration date.
Somehow we all knew that the ever present sunshine attitude that surrounds our typical Florida Spring day would suddenly be darkened by an omnipotent comment cloud that would overshadow the usual optimistic banter whenever the Rays future stadium plans have been mentioned.
Just as suddenly the veil of silence has been removed from the Rays stadium debacle, and a few of the comments from Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg paint a more daunting image of an hourglass whose ribbons of sand are constantly spiraling to and end instead of a more optimistic conclusion.
Recently Sternberg told reporter Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times:
“It seems clearer to me by the day that we’re going to be the last man standing (Oakland A’s stadium talks are in a more advanced stage of discussions),” Sternberg said. “And everything I know, and talking to these guys, baseball is just not going to stand for it anymore. And they’ll find a place for me. They won’t find a place here though. So it’s up to us, to everybody, to figure out how to get it right. …
“We’ve come so far with this, with all the people who are interested and watching. I do believe we’ve grabbed into (them) a little bit, and to say it’s a good thing, it’s fun, it’s good for your kids, it’s a nice sport. … And that’s my real concern, that we won’t get to finish the job that I know we were right there to do.”
For the first time I can remember since Sternberg took over the Rays reigns, it seems like a hint of pessimism has crept into his tone when discussing the Rays future home. For the first time, Sternberg has bluntly envisioned both sides of the Tampa Bay region losing out if some sort of constructive movement is not made in the near future.
A good first step might be St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster allowing the Rays a little latitude to venture into other Tampa Bay locales without the threat of harsh legal actions or local repercussions by the Rays landlords possibly letting the process systematically eliminate some of these cost deficient locations from contention.
But that would be a huge leap of good faith by the City of St. Petersburg who has so much to lose not only in possibly losing their biggest tenant, but seeing a reversal in some of the recent positive financial surges in the city’s economically sensitive downtown core. Losing the team would turn downtown St. Petersburg basically into a ghost town again after 9 pm.
No matter how you try and twist, convolute or even manipulate Sternberg’s words, the message is loud and clear now. Major League Baseball with all its omnipotent power hover and circle above the whole stadium process like a lurking Florida vulture has the upper hand.
No longer is this only about St. Petersburg or even Tampa, it is about the future existence of our own Major League team in a town with rich MLB roots, but a transient populous that still has not fully embraced the Rays as “their team”. Even with the recent return of Spring baseball to Progress Energy Field (Al Lang) , the vibe concerning St. Petersburg is beginning to fade a bit more towards black than sunshine.
I am not the only one to notice Sternberg’s particular word usage or possible hidden messages in his statements. Rays Index, another Rays top blog spot also noticed this one particular sentence that might heed this Tampa Bay region to having a few “burning the midnight oil” political strategy sessions. In a perfect world, both sides of the Tampa Bay region would meet in the same clandestine room.
Hidden within the midst of Sternberg’s comments is the small phrasing, “they’ll find a place for me. They won’t find a place here though.”
Immediately you see the unveiled reminder that the upper echelon of Major League Baseball loves the energy and past work Sternberg has done in rebuilding the Rays franchise from the ground up again, and might have some hidden agenda for his future.
The losers here will not be Sternberg, but it could be this region forever cast as a land of Spring baseball only again if the Rays do get harvested like an orange and taken somewhere else.
Contraction with a MLB/MLBPA labor negotiation in the near future is not an viable option, but if this region keeps their minds and mouthes closed for too much longer, it might be too late to salvage the fruit on the vine.
I think the month of April will not only be the beginning of baseball again being played in St. Petersburg, but the beginning of the sands beginning an accelerated pace through the Rays hourglass. Sternberg has been more than vocally adamant that he is not the only person who might view this whole Rays stadium process as being stagnant for too long now.
Something has to be decided soon before the sands from the hourglass become quicksand that devour and destroy that forward progress of baseball in this region over that last 14 seasons.
The Tampa Bay community needs to make the first step soon, the first lunge into diluting this dark cloud and again bringing the warmth of the sunlight firmly back into view……or the cloud will overtake the region and when it finally begins to dissipate, the Rays may be gone…forever.
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.
In an added note to the story: