St. Petersburg, Florida -- You certainly can't blame season ticket holders like Charlie Troeger for being worried about whether the Rays stay in Tampa Bay after being last in the league last year for average attendance.
Charlie travels from 72 miles away for each Rays home game. All the way from Auburndale.
He knows not everyone has the time or money for season tickets, but he thinks the team deserves better than to be dead last when it comes to the number of fans who come to the games.
"They're gonna go outta here one day and we're not gonna have a baseball team," Charlie warns.
The Rays are fielding what some consider be a team with World Series potential this year.
They've upgraded the stadium.
They're even offering deals like the Flex Pack this year, with discounts of up to 50% for advanced ticket purchase is in increments of three -- and no blackout dates.
"Attendance is very important," agrees new St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Kriseman says there's improving communication between the city and the Rays, and they're working to lure more fans from Tampa too. Waiting for a stadium to rise over on the other side of the Bay is a bad strategy he says.
"If there's not support from that side of the Bay it's pretty tough for Major League Baseball to think that just moving across the Bay is gonna change anything," he says.
Last year's low attendance has recently re-kindled old rumors that cities like Montreal might deliver better attendance.
But Rays President Matt Silverman was quick to quash such gossip, especially on opening day.
"Our home is Tampa Bay and we're gonna make it work here," says Silverman, "and we appreciate every single fan who comes out and enjoys the game."
Silverman hopes moves the team is making will be enough to draw new fans to buy tickets, but he also wants those who've already shown loyalty to show just a little bit more if they can swing it.
"If each fan came to one more game per year it would make a big difference and we wouldn't be having these conversations," he says.
That's certainly what Rays fans in the Bay area want to hear.
The organization doesn't expect sell-outs like today's season-opener to happen every game, but in fielding a top notch team, they do expect to do better than last place in average attendance.