Should the Tampa Bay Rays trim ticket prices as they trim their roster?
Dick Vitale, a Rays' season ticket holder who just happens to be one of the most recognizable commentators in sports, thinks so.
Vitale took to Twitter Wednesday, shortly after the Evan Longoria trade was announced, to vent his frustration with the team's decision to trade away the popular third-baseman.
“I'm absolutely sick, I can't believe it,” said Vitale.
In the viral video, Vitale goes on to questions the fairness of charging him and other Rays season ticket holders major league money for minor-league players as Tampa Bay rebuilds its team.
It really is a sad day for @RaysBaseball @Evan3Longoria was a gamer / gave us a legit Star player now we will struggle big time @Yankeesget @Giancarlo818 & what do we get Triple A players / NOT FAIR for those that r loyal & buy season tix! @RogerMooney50 @mjfennelly @MLB pic.twitter.com/uuEnh7LPYo— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) December 20, 2017
“Every year we pay major league prices, yet they're gonna give us AAA baseball. That's a joke,” said Vitale.
At Ferg's, a popular sports bar sitting in the shadow of Tropicana Field, Rays fans reacted to Vitale's Twitter tirade.
“To a certain extent I do agree,” said Frank Burke, also a season ticket holder. But the way Burke sees it, the major league price he pays isn't just to watch the Rays.
“I come to watch good baseball,” said Burke. “If it's the other team playing good baseball that night, hey, I'll tip my hat to them and say great.”
The Rays say they need to rebuild, but critics say that's been going on for years now, with few wins to show for it.
The team regularly releases all-stars as they become more valuable, like pitcher James Shields, and Cy Young winner David Price.
Popular manager Joe Maddon left to coach the Chicago Cubs to a World Series win. And who was the series MVP that year? Former Rays infielder Ben Zobrist.
Vitale's question is what have the rays gotten in exchange for all of that talent? A bunch of minor-league prospects, most of which haven't panned out, he says.
On sports radio 620 WDAE Thursday, the trade that sparked Vitale's venom was still a hot topic. Fans were furious over trading the face of the Rays franchise, Longoria, to the San Francisco Giants.
“Watching them trade player after player, I am done with the team,” one caller told Radio Host Ron Diaz. “I will not watch them nor support them.”
Vitale also predicts the Rays aren't done yet. In the video, he says the team might also trade star pitcher Chris Archer.
The team is clearly looking to make its roster more affordable, but not necessarily tickets.
“Shame on you Rays,” said Vitale, wrapping-up his rant. “I'm really, really disappointed.”
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