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 My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future

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TBraysfanforever
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PostSubject: My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future   Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:18 pm

I am not going to go into details about what Stuart Sternberg has said, as I am sure you are all aware of his words. He has taken shots at the city and the fans. Does he have the right? Perhaps. Four straight years of competing in the toughest division in Baseball. Two years of winning the A.L. East, and one year of winning the A.L. Wild Card. A World Series trip in 2008, a missed opportunity in 2009, and then two straight first round exits in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Yet, was has happened to our attendance? It has gone DOWN. After having years of losing seasons, just downright awful teams on the field, and agony for the fanbase this team has come out strong in four straight seasons. Four straight seasons of a record over .500, three of those seasons exceeding all expectations with 97, 96, and 91 wins respectively. An off-year in 2009 with 84 wins, but still more than we had ever had prior to the 2008 season.

So what is going on? Why aren't fans showing up? Is it the economy, the location? Or is it just the fact that this city (and I am not just talking St. Pete, I am talking the cities around it INCLUDING Tampa) is not a baseball city? Is it the fact that they'd rather watch the Bucs miss out on the Playoffs than watch the Rays compete in the toughest division in Baseball? What is it and what can we do about it? My feelings are that there is only one way to overcome this. Relocation. It's true, that our attendance is terrible and that it should have gone increasingly up but I don't believe Stuart has done all he could either. There are owners that spend out of their own pocketbooks, and it's not always because their attendance is high, it's because they are willing to SPEND money. I feel like Stu hasn't been willing to do that. He knows he will eventually sell this team, while they're on top, and he will make a huge profit. He will get a lot more than he paid for, so why would he spend extra now? Why would he make that step when he knows it's just a matter of time before pay day?

I personally am not comfortable with Stu. Yes the FO has done an AMAZING job with this team, but when your owner isn't willing to spend he just isn't willing to spend, and you can not continue to win like that. You don't have to be the Yankees and Red Sox with payrolls out of this world. Anytime their season doesn't go exactly the way they want (a World Series) they spend millions and millions of more dollars but then have an even more pathetic year than the year before. You don't have to be like that, but you can't win consistently having a payroll ranked 29th in all of baseball. Just one away from dead last. So what exactly do I think needs to be done?

Well, for one, Stuart needs to go ahead and sell the team. If he's not willing to make this work, find someone who is. Find someone who will fight to get out of this stadium and someone who will find a way to get fans to games. The next step is really to figure out how well the Marlins do in attendance this year. If they don't excel, then I feel like the team needs to move out of Florida entirely. I know some of you will completely disagree, hate having the team leave, but would you rather watch them win World Series or would you rather watch them give us all this hope all year long and fail in the first round? Now, a lot of places have been talked about. Las Vegas is one of them. But why move the team to Las Vegas? Las Vegas is a tourist city. And most tourists aren't coming there to watch a Baseball game. Attendance may rise some but wouldn't be much different than the position we're in now.

So where else could they go? My ideal place is San Antonio, Texas. Texas is a big sports state, and the Astros (the worst team in Baseball this year) had a better attendance than the Rays (A.L. Wild Card winners). The Rangers always get a huge attendance as well. San Antonio has stated they WANT a team, they wanted the Marlins before a stadium was finally built. So why not? A state and city that supports their teams and loves their sports. I guarantee you, if the Rays moved to San Antonio with the core they have in the FO and generally the same players that grew up with Tampa (Longo, Zobrist, and our wonderful pitching staff) this team WILL win a World Series. Look what they do with so much less? Perhaps it would take a year, or two, or three, but I guarantee you they'd get it done. Isn't that what we all want? Our team to win a World Series?

I would like to hear your thoughts as well. I hope I haven't hurt any feelings, but I just don't feel like this team will succeed in the Tampa area, unless we have an owner that does not care about attendance and revenue and spends as much as he possibly can no matter what the attendance number is, but that seems unlikely to me. So what do you think? How do you feel about Stu's comments and what do you think needs to be done to help this team? I also have a lot of feelings about what needs to be done this off-season, as far as trades and acquisitions, but I will leave that for another thread.
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PostSubject: Re: My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future   Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:53 am

TBraysfanforever wrote:
Is it the economy, the location? Or is it just the fact that this city (and I am not just talking St. Pete, I am talking the cities around it INCLUDING Tampa) is not a baseball city? Is it the fact that they'd rather watch the Bucs miss out on the Playoffs than watch the Rays compete in the toughest division in Baseball? What is it and what can we do about it? My feelings are that there is only one way to overcome this. Relocation.

I've heard a lot of crying about St Pete being a bad location. "It's too far away" or "The traffic is terrible", etc. I think that is just a bogus EXCUSE, rather than a truly valid reason. I've been to a lot of games in St. Pete, St. Louis, Chicago (both teams), Minneapolis and Atlanta over the past 30 years. The distances and traffic situations are NO different in any of those cities. Granted the last three have light rail systems, but still have plenty of folks who drive to the games.

I believe your idea that the Tampa/St. Pete area is football focused is dead on, and will go so far as to say the entire state of Florida is as well. I've consistently seen bigger crowds at Single A Kenosha, WI and Indy League games here in SD, than what I saw at Double A games in Jax and Orlando (way back in the 80's).

Relocation is probably a sure bet if they don't get off their duffs and DO something. In addition to San Antonio, Charlotte, Nashville, or Indianapolis could be viable (I don't have a clue about their interest levels, though).

Can't really comment on Stu and the operation of the club (except maybe the fine minor league pipeline), but you do make very valid points. I prefer to keep my focus on the field and enjoy the game itself. Cheers.

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PostSubject: Re: My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future   Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:32 pm

I have thought long and hard on this subject and it seems to me the most compelling excuse for the continued lack of attendence is that most of the population is originally from somewhere else, unless you are a Seminole Indian! OK, my family transplanted from NYC when mom and dad married in the 50's. So we are almost natives and my family are rabid Rays fans. Granny pushing 80, has to wake up grandpa at the end of each game and take him into bed. She watches them ALL. The newer transplants bring their loyalties with them and come out to the games when we play their teams. This is evidenced by the surge in attendence for the the Yankee/RedSox games. They may even attend a few other games sporadically, and even root for us. Only time will tell if enough of these fans will be won over to the Rays or if we will need to wait a generation for the kids of today to become the ticket purchasers of tomorrow. The big question is of course in todays business of baseball is any owner willing to wait so long? The only consolation is that the TV ratings for the Rays is way above average and if this translates into dollars it may be a minor incentive.
I know my mom watches every game and I often wonder if the average age of the Tri-state residents may also be a hinder for attendence. At 80 years old 10PM is too late to be out.
It would seem that MLB would have been able to anticipate the demographics of the area, and maybe it is just the economy that is holding back the numbers. In 2008 before the big crash we played many games with attendence over 30K.
Whatever the reason I sincerely hope they work it out because I don't see myself buying San Anonio Rays gear!!!
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PostSubject: Re: My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future   Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:40 am

djhmmoh wrote:
I know my mom watches every game and I often wonder if the average age of the Tri-state residents may also be a hinder for attendence. At 80 years old 10PM is too late to be out.

YES! I also wonder if there might be a lack of expendable income from the large retiree community in the area in spite of the Ray's prices being very reasonable compared to most other franchises.

djhmmoh wrote:
Whatever the reason I sincerely hope they work it out because I don't see myself buying San Anonio Rays gear!!!

Me either! Guess I'd have to switch to Twins gear, though I won't quit wearing my Rays hat with the ear flaps. Cool

I watch most of the Ray's games on my laptop via a subcription to MLB-TV. Was curious if you did also?
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PostSubject: Re: My thoughts on Stu, the Rays, and our Future   Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:54 am

Yes, we watch through MLB.TV, and sometimes if it a day game I can hook it up to the TV in the kids TV room and watch it on a flat screen. Mostly it is with the laptop in front of me and headphones. Here in Sweden we are 6 hours ahead, so a 7:10PM game starts just after 0100AM the next day for us. Don't get to see many of those games live, but get up at 0530 and if the game hasn't gone extra innings I can watch it without the commercials(if we won!!!).
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