It will not work in St. Pete-Joel Sherman
- Tampa Bay Rays radio and tv ratings are up. No matter how reasonable tickets are, gas and necessary air conditioning are too expensive. This assumes the population ever thinks of baseball which most don't. Addressing these realities would help.
What is the answer? Brooklyn-born Rays owner Stu Sternberg politely refused to discuss the issue during a phone conversation and has his entire organization on silent mode on this issue, feeling no good will come as a franchise by complaining about the lack of attendance. But it is clear that this is not going to work in St. Pete. As opposed to say Baltimore or Cleveland, teams which have a history of drawing three million in attendance when they have been good, and Toronto, which actually bettered four million,
- there is no legacy of drawing in St. Pete to suggest that fans will one day show up in significant numbers.
Think of St. Pete like New Jersey: People might go from New York to Jersey for eight weekend football games. But I don’t imagine a lot of folks in Brooklyn or Queens would go constantly for 81 baseball games, in the way that Jersey-ites are more willing to go to baseball in the boroughs. Tampa residents seem to have the same inclination when it comes to traveling to St. Pete; they just won’t do it in the way St. Pete residents will go to Tampa, the Rays surveying has shown."...
- "Rays must leave St. Pete to compete long-term," by Joel Sherman, NY Post, 5/2/10. photo getty