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Longoria calls fans' effort embarrassing


08:16 AM ET 09.28 | Perhaps he knew that as the face of the franchise his words would be taken to heart. The Rays had a chance to clinch the second playoff berth in franchise history Monday night and yet had the fourth-smallest crowd of the season with 12,446 at Tropicana Field. And All-Star Evan Longoria had enough, calling the small gathering on the big night "embarrassing" and "disheartening." The attendance issue has been bothering Longoria -- the team's most nationally known player -- for a while, and he decided to speak out. "We go out there and play hard for 162 games," Longoria said, "and for the fans to show the kind of support they're showing right now, you kind of wonder what else you have to do as a player."

St. Petersburg Times

Evan Longoria , AP Evan Longoria , AP
September 28, 2010  08:32 AM ET

First up

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September 28, 2010  08:41 AM ET

I'm sure there is a demographic explanation for this. Not everybody likes baseball and could care less even if their local team is playing good.

September 28, 2010  08:58 AM ET

Living in Central Florida and having been to Tropicana Field, it is a "hell hole" a "pit". It is embarrassing to have a major league team play in tht place. Let's not forget the location which has horrific traffic jams on normal days, let alone game days. To go to a Rays game is more than a committment of love, it involves risking your life.

Do not blame the fans. Blame management, the city, FDOT ( Florida Dept of Transportation), but do not blame the fans. Going there is not worth all the hassels of getting there and back.

Lastly Tampa got a baseball franchise based on all of the baseball fans in the area. Again they miscalculated, as all of those fans were Yankee fans, who will "NEVER" convert. It will take at least one if not two generations before there is a real Rays fan base. Winning will create respect and new fans, that can't convert Yankee fans.

September 28, 2010  08:59 AM ET

Although I agree with all of the above (demographics, locations, what-not), it seems that when they are actually in the playoffs, all of these front-runners come flying out waving their towels ... that's the shame of it. Good for Evan ...

September 28, 2010  09:10 AM ET

Rays are doomed in Tampa...

September 28, 2010  09:21 AM ET

Second upBy the way Evan.....attendance has always stunk for your team so this should not come as a shocker

Then they shouldn't have a team. Simple. I agree with most of the posts. Stadium sucks (I've been there), location sucks. There are at least 20 cities who would give their right arm for this franchise. Longoria is absolutely right. It's sad for him and his team mates that it'll never change in Tampa.

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September 28, 2010  09:21 AM ET

What Else you have to do is build a stadium near where there are people under 70 who don't have to drive across that **** bridge into the hole that is Peterburg to watch a game or move to Say Vegas or Oklahoma City where more than 12 people don't want to eat dinner @ 4pm and be asleep by 7pm and have this thing called M O N E Y to spend on these things called T I C K E T S. Ask Jacksonville Jaguars, FLorida Marlins about how awesome it is to be in a broke town in broke state in a bad economy.

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September 28, 2010  09:36 AM ET

The team is in St. Petersburg, not is not the "Tampa" Rays, it's the "Tampa Bay" Rays, as in the body of water (Tampa Bay) that both Tampa and St. Pete share.

September 28, 2010  09:36 AM ET

"We go out there and play hard for 162 games," Longoria said, "and for the fans to show the kind of support they're showing right now, you kind of wonder what else you have to do as a player."

Hmm, take a pay cut? I'd say it's a good bet to say that most of these players get paid more to play a single game than most in Florida make in a year. Yes Mr. Longoria, let me spend my entire unemployment check to go see one game, who cares if my kids don't eat or have decent clothes to wear to school. These players and owners are too out of touch with reality, with almost 25% of the country unemployed (that's counting the people who ran out of benefits, the gov. doesn't count them when they post the numbers) there are much more important things than paying 300 dollars for families to go see a game.

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September 28, 2010  09:42 AM ET

I respect the comments where people have said that the Rays are a good team. Heck they are a great team. My point is winning can't get fans with other loyaliteis to convert. They have to build a fan base which will take a long time. Most expansiion teams have that problem unless they are in a major metropolitan area. Also note that they play in St. Pete. that is very different than Tampa which might have given them a shot. Longoria can get upset,but he also has to be realistic. I also believe that when he gets his chance at free agency he will choose a major metropolitan area where he can play in front of fans.

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September 28, 2010  09:49 AM ET

The fact that the Tampa/St. Pete area has local radio station broadcasting ALL Yankees games should tell you everything you need to know about the allegiance of the local population. Heck the Yankees have had spring training in tampa for the last 14 years and prior to that St. Pete was host of Yankees Spring training in the 20's, 30's 40's until 1951, when they moved ST to Phoenix for one one season, then back to St. Pete for another 10 years, before moving to Ft. Lauderdale for 30+ years. the Tampa/St. Pete area is a Yankees town.

September 28, 2010  09:50 AM ET

I live in the area and have attended games. They have a good young team with great pitching that could use a big bat and a new stadium someplace else. Tropicana field looks like a flying saucer crashed in down town St. Petersberg. It's an embarrassment when high fly balls bounce off the walkways at the top of the stadium and drop for hits. There's nothing in downtown St. Pete so no entertainment before or after games. Cops have a field day handing out parking tickets. They should have built the stadium in the city of Tampa, downtown, or by the State Fairgrounds where I4/I75 are close and you can draw Lakeland and Orlando fans as well as Tampa and St. Pete, as opposed to south of St. Pete where everyone is over 80, drive too slow, and get lost on the way to the corner market.

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