If there’s anything good about Facebook (trust me, there really isn’t much) it’s that there is instant feedback to controversial posts or topics. Today, on the DRaysBay Facebook page, a link was posted titled “The Rays Need To Get Out of Tampa Bay”. This opinion piece was originally published by ESPN, and is hot linked here. For better or worse the issue regarding the stadium, by means of criticizing Rays fans, has again reared its ugly head. Below are the comments to the article, many of which are well thought out and well written and some, not so much…but I digress.
I didn’t really want to give my opinion about the issue at the moment, as I was planning on writing a bigger piece in the near future. However, this does seem to be a hot button issue, and the discourse created certainly couldn’t hurt. Check out the original piece (again, hot linked above and here) and the comments below. My un-inebriated, drivel like, response/opinion is below.
Facebook users comments:
Jim Dietrich I refused to be baited by these shills for the Yanks and Red Sox.
David Lopez Blah blah blah
Mike Hussey If they do move, I hope it is to Charlotte NC, and that is only because I live in NC now. I would prefer they stay home and get a new stadium in Tampa. GO RAYS!
DRaysBay The 1986 Red Sox won the division and FIFTEEN of their 81 home games had less than 20,000 people at the games. That’s for a franchise that had an 85 year history, public transportation to games, and box seats that were just $11 and the club was just fifth in AL attendance that season. Berthiaume is a tired act.
Manu Mishra Gaines pointed out that the picture was from 2004 (it looks like they’ve since removed it). I got fed up with Berthiaume a few weeks ago when he was arguing with the Common Man(?) about Correia being good cuz of his wins…
David Lopez If you’re going to use “facts” and “history” to support your argument, I’m not going to play.
Chris Thompson When are people going to start leaning on Mayor Foster more? Yes, Jonathan from B/R was the 1st to spot the picture last night and the other one they used was from a pre-game workout from the 2008 ALCS. Berthiaume talks about the Rays attendance more than Rush Limbaugh mentions taxcuts.
Cory Green “Baseball is just not going to stand for it anymore. And they’ll find a place for me. They won’t find a place here though.” I dont remember Stewie saying this. anyone else? kinda seems like there would be more outrage.
Chris O’Donnell They better not move the Rays or I’ll be stuck rooting for the Marlins. And I have a Rays tattoo but I’ll never regret getting it even if they move
Emilio Ladines I know one thing I am tired of media comparing the NY and Boston markets to that of Tampa Bays. Where is the in depth mention of transportation and economy? Some of these editors are just plain ignorant or biased. Like that annoying little gnat in the summer that don’t go away.
Anthony Ateek Quote from the article: “The franchise has done the best it can with a suffocating stadium lease,” save for working with the city in finding private funding for a new stadium.
Anthony Ateek And what’s really annoying is that not a word is mentioned about the average attendance being on the increase from the high 16,000’s at the beginning of the year to the 18,485 noted in the article.
Andrew Griffith Agree with the sentiments of the comments and Berthiaume shits me as much as the next guy, but let’s look at this from another angle. Having a new stadium in Tampa will have an unknown impact on the profits (especially if the Rays have to foot some of the bill). But it would increase the value of the team, if it was ever to be sold.
The Rays are profitable
Don’t forget this is a business, and our owner and operators are fantastic businessmen (who have already done a great job of increasing the team’s value). Articles like this bemoaning the “woes” of the team really help the businessmen’s cause.
DRaysBay @Andrew: Yeah, that is one of the real positives to take away from this. If nothing else, this may help light a fire under local government officials.
Jordan Wisecup Way to cherry pick 1986. The facts remain that the stadium is an eyesore and attendance is even uglier. Being that a substantial portion of DRaysBay is NOT from the Bay Area, it’s probably tough for you guys to come to terms with the fact that St. Petersburg cannot sustain an MLB team, so why can’t we just enjoy ’em while we got ’em. They’ll still be on your MLB.tv monitor. No need to wet your pants.
Here goes, AKA my un-inebriated, drivel like, response/opinion on the matter:
I have to question whether it would or wouldn’t have an impact on the bottom line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the persuasion that a new stadium is in order. However, the dominant (and/or loudest) opinions are made by those that assume Tampa is the land of milk and honey and are not critically or objectively looking at any other locations.
I will say, a centrally located spot that affords easy access for fans of the most highly populated areas (read, the Tampa Bay area, not necessarily Polk eastward) would be beneficial. If a stadium was to be built, say in the fairgrounds area, fans in Pinellas, Pasco, Bradenton, and Sarasota, who generally don’t have a hard time getting to the Trop, would likely become disenfranchised and would potentially not attend games. To that end, I don’t really see a lot of Tampa folks making the trek over to the fairgrounds in the middle of rush hour either. Would it be an ideal spot if the high-speed rail had been approved? I’d have to say yes, but it wasn’t. Besides, what would you do with the kids after the game; leave them in the car while mom and pop gamble? I suppose you could also entertain yourself at the Circle K, Waffle House, or myriad of amazing establishments and/or locals before driving home.
If a stadium was to be built in Hillsborough, I’d think it’d have to be done so in the Channelside area. However, keep in mind that the Channelside location would lend the perfect storm of traffic and lack of parking when baseball season overlaps with both the hockey and football seasons. Don’t believe me? Give it a year when the RNC is in that area for five days, re routing traffic, blocking roads, etc. Multiply the hassle of getting around that area by roughly 16 and one can imagine it’ll be a madhouse if a stadium were to be built there.
With all of that said, there are two, maybe three, areas in Pinellas that a stadium could be built: Carillon, Gateway, and potentially the dog-track. Please note: The dog track has been a location that has wet the palates of many people of late however, no one has officially talked to the owners of the dog track, so I’m not really certain if it’s a legitimate site or not. Those three locations are accessible to Hillsborough and eastward via three bridges (two of which dump off within a couple of miles), are centrally located, easily accessible to the greater Tampa Bay region, and already consist of built-in infrastructure.
What the article doesn’t really hit on though is the lack of quality mass transportation in the area which need to be greatly improved wherever the Rays choose to hang their hats, assuming that’s in this area. I’d go as far to say that the mass transportation system needs to be improved even sooner than the construction of a new stadium. Unfortunately, with the cuts that the state is facing in that department by one Governor Darth Vador/Lex Luther, I’m not certain the mass transportation issue will be intelligently worked on and hashed out in the next few years.
In the end, St. Petersburg’s Mayor Bill “Stick in the Mud” Foster, and Stu “Corn-cob in the Ass” Sternberg need to meet and come to some resolution, and the sooner the better.