Here we are about to start the second half of the baseball season and the Tampa Bay Rays are still very much in the thick of things. After 96 games played so far, Maddon’s boys are 55 up and 41 down, good enough for 2nd place behind Boston in the always tough AL East.
The Rays ended the first half as baseball’s hottest team winning 14 of their last 16 and as they get ready for 10 road games in 10 days, there’s so much to feel positive about. David Price is off the DL and pitching like the reigning Cy Young award winner that he is. Luke Scott’s finally come alive at the plate joining Loney, Escobar, Zobrist, Jennings and the rest on an unlikely offensive juggernaut! But with all this positivity on the field it royally sucks that the team has again drawn unwanted attention from Bud Selig and MLB due to their troubles at the gate. The Commissioner has made it clear that something must be done to boost attendance or there will be consequences (ie; Carolina, Montreal, etc). Take it from me, Tampa Bay’s civic leaders better hammer out an agreement or your Tampa Bay Rays will be on the move, never to return.
Growing up in the Baltimore/Washington area, I was ashamed when the Colts left in the Mayflower vans for Indianapolis but most people expected that the NFL would one day return. Baltimore was one of the cornerstone cities that the early NFL was built upon. It was only under maniacal, alcoholic owner Bob Irsay that fans stopped going out to games on Sundays, the team had become a joke.
The Rays are in a much different situation. If MLB decides that they can no longer prop up the Rays and the team moves, the area will never get another team because the region proved it couldn’t even support a winner! Maybe Tampa Bay is more suited to minor league and spring training baseball than the MLB. Or maybe it’s Tropicana Field, a building that was outdated when the Rays played their first game there! So many people complain about the facility. So many bemoan the location. How about this: kill a couple birds with one stone and build a new stadium in Tampa! It’s the only solution and everybody in town knows it. Mayors Foster and Buckhorn better lock themselves in a room and work something out or risk losing a model organization and sense of pride for Florida’s gulf coast. And once your team moves away the pain is deep and it’s real. It aches like a tooth. Trust me.
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