Can You Understand The Words Coming Out of My Mouth ?
So here it is the last few days of September and the baseball regular season comes to an exhilarating end. That being said it’d appear that Tampa Bay Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria isn’t entirely happy with the fact that there hasn’t been overwhelming support for the team as they make the postseason for just the second time in their tenured existence. Now far be it for me to keep on reiterating the same story repeatedly but all of this bravura means actually nothing when one considers that until 2008 the Rays had yet to reach the postseason . And as we know support for the team has been lackluster at best. Within the locale ardent supporters of this team would have you believe that this is the Rays’ divine right to be part of the Fall spectacle . Longoria and his teammate David Price have been very vocal in what they believe to be complete a lack of support of the team at their home games, at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg, Florida.
Slide show for your perusal .
While many feel that both players’ statements are well justified I for one feel that if anything it’s misplaced and somewhat asinine ! It’s not as if this team has been an apparent fixture as part of the postseason over the years. And although the Rays made their first and lone appearance in the World Series (2008) against the Philadelphia Phillies wherein they would end up losing the series rather inauspiciously . It appears that the fans within the area who are short on memory as are the players, now are acting as if their arrival is theirs by divine right. We know that the organization faces an uphill battle merely to exist from a financial standpoint but I do believe that many of the problems that the club faces are of its very own making. The front office led by GM Andrew Friedman, principal partner and owner Stuart Sternberg now are at their wit’s end in trying to make this organization a viable financial concern. Operating on a meager budget and a $70 million plus payroll one of the main problems that the organization faces is that it hasn’t the vast financial resources of many of their divisional rivals such as the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. That being said the front office of this organization has done its utmost to try and get the fans to come out and see a winning product on the field. And as of yet they haven’t seen the fruits of their labor and they’re unlikely to, unless the mindset of the fans can actually be changed.
Longoria for his part has shown that he has a great deal to understand about the business side of baseball and he should as such stick to what he knows which is playing the game and let it be. Criticize all you want but make sure that when the criticism is being leveled it’s being done in such a way that it doesn’t alienate the fans. If there’s anything that we know it’s that the fans when they choose to forgo their wish to show support for a team or player when the tables are turned it’s not always that easy turn things around have them back in your favor. That being said the hardcore support that this team has been somewhat mediocre and is marginally above 15,000 fans at best although the league stats state otherwise. By the league’s own figures they state that the Rays’ average attendance for home games is in excess of 23,000. If any of you out there has seen a televised game at Tropicana Field those figures are exaggerated somewhat and they bear no semblance as to what the league reports. If anyone knows the hierarchy of major league baseball (MLB) it is that they tend to operate with the secrecy that one would come to expect of the Freemasons or Opus Dei. Never let it be said that Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy operates with transparency as nothing could be further from the truth.
The postsesaon now beckons and with the AL East sill undecided as to who its champion will be the remaining schedule for both teams will come down to their play down the final stretch.The Tampa Bay Rays had possessed a one game lead over the New York Yankees and manager Joe Girardi knows that his team can ill afford to not play for the win and take the division outright. Home field advantage is ultimately what both sides seek and it has to be said that Joe Maddon and the Rays appear to be in the driver’s seat. And it is at this point one would have to favor the Rays as it appears that the Yankees’ bullpen and pitching seems to have found a maelstrom and is askew . It hasn’t helped that Yankees’ starting pitcher A J Burnett has been in an absolute tailspin since early August posting a 1-7 record with a 6.98 ERA ,hardly a threat to any offense at present based on these figures. But as we know the postseason tends to one where you either rise to the occasion or you simply descend into oblivion.
My buddy Sportschump (aka Chris Humpherys) and I agree to disagree as to whether Longoria’s statement was warranted. He feels that the player is within his right to state what he sees is the disingenuous behavior of the fans. I view it as the opposite, as the fans have never been completely enamored in showing their support for this team over the last decade. From the organization’s inception until 2008 , it was something of a rarity to see this team being supported as if they’d been in existence for generations. The fact of the matter is, this ball-club is still a young franchise and yet to establish a legacy. Winning is everything and until the Rays win with consistency and I’m not merely talking about winning series and divisional titles but winning a World Series __ then they might see the benefits of winning. In essence this is what transpires when a franchise learns what winning is all about rather than there being constant whining from the players of this ball-club. Win first , then everything else will fall into place.
Given what you know about the Rays as a franchise and the fact that they’re not on the only team that has found itself in such a situation do you feel that Evan Longoria was right with the statement he made in public concerning the fans not attending the team’s home games ? If so state the reasons why you feel that he was right in his assertions concerning the statement ? If you feel he was wrong then state how you feel that the ball-club can lure the fans to the ballpark and make the experience an enjoyable one ? I’ve stated my own feelings on this matter and what it would take for the organization to actually make the fans a willing participant in their changing environment.
Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original format .
Chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !
NB For the latest news & view within major league baseball (MLB) simply click on the links provided below.
Alan aka tophatal 🙂
Another eye candy staple courtesy of XXL magazine . ………. Liris Crosse