A 2012 estimate of the Tampa Bay Area shows a population of about 4,310,524 people, according to Wikipedia.
The total fan attendance for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 was 1,559,681, which ranked the Rays last – yes, last in the Major Leagues. I knew the attendance situation was bad in Tampa, but it’s so bad the Houston Astros and their pathetic 55-107 record garnered 48,052 more fans through the turnstiles.
On the flip side, the last swan song for the Montreal Expos in 2004 they saw a lacklustre 749,550 fans through the gates at Olympic Stadium.
I understand that Tropicana Field is not the mecca as far as baseball stadiums go. However, in 2012 David Price won the Cy Young Award. The Rays boast one of the most promising young pitchers in the game in Matt Moore, a perennial all-star and face of the franchise in Evan Longoria, and a hip 60 year old manager in Joe Maddon, to name a few of the Rays’ cast.
This isn’t Houston, folks. The Rays have won 90 games or more in four of the last five seasons, and play an exciting style of ball in the most competitive division in baseball.
The biggest draw was April 06 a 7-6 win against the Yankees where 34,078 fans ventured out to Tropicana.. The low point of the season came on April 30 against the Seattle Mariners, where an abysmal 9, 458 fans made their way through the gates. The Rays had four games under 10,000 fans in attendance, and 27 home games with fewer than 15,000 fans in 2012.
To the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays – wake up, get out to the ball park and support your team, be thankful and appreciate that you have a winner to cheer on.
If you don’t I, know of a city in Canada that would love a second chance at a major league franchise.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.