Tampa Bay Rays fans hold up a sign as the Rays play against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on Sept. 18, 2013. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3 in twelve innings. (Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)
I went to the Trop last night to watch the Rays. From way up high in section 302, I had a great vantage point. I could see empty blue seats everywhere.
Yes, there was a game. Yes, very few fans showed up.
I, like a lot of die-hard Rays fans, get tired of going to games and having it sound more like a library than a sporting event. You know, don't clap too loudly. You might wake up that guy two sections over.
I get tired of it, but I get it.
The thing I don't get is why are we the only ones getting picked on? It may not be the case, but to me, it certainly seems like we're getting singled out more than anyone else for short lines at the ticket windows.
Have you heard anything about the Indians attendance lately? How about the Athletics? Those two teams are in the thick of the postseason race as well and FEWER fans show up to those games last night than at the Trop. FEWER!
ATTENDANCE for Thursday, Sept. 18, 2013:
RAYS: 13,550 (Not great)
INDIANS: 12,607 (Awful)
ATHLETICS: 11,461 (Are you kidding?)
I know we had just a hair over 10,000 for the first two nights of this series. That, too, is pitiful. But, the A's are division leaders. The Rays and Indians are both Wild Card hopefuls. Every night is crucial!
Ken Rosenthal wrote about poor Trop attendance after visiting the dome earlier this week. ESPN poked fun at the us Monday night on Sportscenter for not showing up to support a team fighting for a playoff berth.
Why do we get picked on and not them?
All of the doom and gloom you hear from national media outlets, and even the MLB Commissioner's office itself, about the Tropicana Field attendance is warranted in many cases. The Rays have had a winning season for six straight years! Did anyone think that was possible during the early years of this franchise?
It'd be great to see more fans at the Trop. I'd love that. I'm sure the players would, too. But, don't believe poor attendance is a Tampa Bay-only issue.
The problem extends past the Howard Frankland Bridge.