Sports

Bud Selig: “Patience Running Thin” Over Rays Attendance Woes

By: Justin Pawlowski Twitter: @CommishOnline
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(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

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Baseball commissioner Bud Selig continued to spew his venom towards the Tampa Bay area and its lack of support for the Rays when it comes to attendance.

“It is beyond disappointing,” Selig said. “You cannot ask a franchise to continue, when they have been so competitive and really, really done a marvelous job, in a situation that is economically not tolerable.”

The Rays have played more home games (53) than any team in baseball to this point in the season.  Through those 53 games, the Rays are averaging just 17,790 per game, which is 29th in baseball and just 374 more per game than the Miami Marlins.

Bud Selig called the Rays’ attendance “very disappointing and very worrisome.”

In comparison, the Rays had the lowest attendance in baseball in 2012 and averaged 19,255 per game, or 1,465 more per game than what they average in 2013.

“Look at their club in the major leagues and it’s competitive, and is averaging 18,000 people a game,” he said. “That may have been okay in 1956, but it’s not okay today.”

Selig has never been a fan of Tropicana Field, and also echoed those opinions on Tuesday.

“There’s no question there’s a stadium problem,” Selig said. “There’s no debate about it. The question is what to do about it and when to do it and where, and those are conversations Mr. Sternberg and I will have.”

These talks with Sternberg will likely be happening soon.

“I have a very high level of frustration,” Selig said. “I think my patience is running as thin as his, if not more so. I don’t know what will happen with that; he and I need to have a lot more conversations.”

Recent columns in both the Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Tribune have pointed to the failures that both MLB franchises have had in this state when it has come to drawing attendance.

As Bud Selig and Stu Sternberg discuss their options, we as Tampa Bay residents need to discuss ours.

Will a new stadium automatically rectify these attendance issues?

Will a new location steadily bring in more than 12,000 people per game?  Of course, this number would be needed to get close to the MLB average for attendance.

Do people in the Tampa Bay area avoid going to Rays games solely for the distance of the drive or because of a lack of burning passion for baseball in this state?

The reason these questions are significant is because if we, as residents, build a new stadium and attendance remains the same, we might all look back at this investment as one of the worst investments in our history.  It would also eliminate the last excuse before you are forced to admit that you have run out of excuses and simply do not care enough to go to the games.

Check out Fan Interference with The Commish Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall weekdays from 9-12.

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