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Tampa Bay Rays: Escape from the Trop


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19 hours ago, ~Bear said:

Is there anyway the Rays could relocate before 2027? The news of splitting cities can't help attendance. People aren't going to show up any more than the abysmal numbers they are now if they think the team's in lame-duck mode. 

 

Well, if the writing is on the wall, they could probably work out some deal where the team would pay a "cancellation" fee of some sort to get out of the agreement.

 

19 hours ago, Marlins93 said:

Of coursed I'm biased, but I think the Rays fans have more to be ashamed of than Marlins fans right now when it comes to attendance. I understand the ballpark location argument (but I'd argue that Marlins Park is poorly located too), but at least the Rays have had competent ownership, no history of soul crushing firesales (despite still losing franchise players like Price and Longoria), and are a competitive team on the field. If the Marlins were playing so well that they were first in their division up until several days ago, their attendance figures would most definitely be better than what the Rays are pulling so far this season, although not necessarily sell outs by any stretch.

 

I agree.  South Florida will show up for a winning team.

I also agree Marlins Park is in a bad location - terrible highway in/out access, in a neighborhood with small streets, nothing around but small homes (no "ballpark village" opportunity), not downtown, etc - but the property was there so that's where it went.

 

18 hours ago, QueenCitySwarm said:

For certain, but no matter the reason, attendance woes are still attendance woes. I'm sure if the Marlins were consistently better we wouldn't be having this discussion, but it's still possible that baseball in Miami has been contaminated like Tampa Bay. Incompetent ownership and fire sales aplenty has harmed the goodwill between fans and the team, and even if a better owner took over, that relationship may be permanently damaged. Moving the team to a new fanbase will not only change the suitors for the team (I'm sure people would rather own the Miami franchise than the Charlotte one), but it wipes the slate clean for the team to build trust between it and the fans. The Marlins have done really nothing to reward long-time fans, even with two World Series wins, since right after they win they just burn it to the ground. Even if it's the owners' fault, the goodwill may be gone. It's like a nuclear explosion: one mistake can make the soil infertile for years to come.

 

I think the Marlins will be ok long term; it'll take years of being competently run without blowing the team up every few years, and obviously success/winning, but I think the market will warm up to them should it those things happen.  They've just been raked through the coals every time the start to have a reason to support the team, so people are leery to support them.

 

13 hours ago, 63Bulldogs63 said:

 

In fairness to the Angel's their ballpark is the 4th or 5th oldest in the league. Just cause someone gets a boob job and some lipo in their 50's , doesn't make them younger. 

 

They've had a well know rat problem at the stadium. And while enjoy going to games there. I can see why they really could use a new stadium. A lot of bad awkward sightlines from it being a multipurpose previously in life.

 

They could likely use a new one, but it's a different situation than Tampa.

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19 hours ago, Brian in Boston said:


Well, in any event. Las Vegas won't be the first city to land franchises in the leagues we now regard as major professional in rapid-fire succession. After all, if you're only going to regard American Football League franchises as joining the ranks of top-tier pro sports when the full AFL merger with the NFL took place, then...

Buffalo Bills / NFL / 1970
Buffalo Braves / NBA / 1970
Buffalo Sabres / NHL / 1970

BOOM!!! Three franchises in three of the so-called "Big Four" North American pro sports leagues in one fell swoop.

Similarly... 

San Diego Rockets / NBA / 1967
San Diego Padres / MLB / 1969
San Diego Chargers / NFL / 1970
(That's three years to land three franchises in the "Big Four".)

Kansas City Royals / MLB / 1969
Kansas City Chiefs / NFL / 1970
Kansas City-Omaha Kings / NBA / 1972
Kansas City Scouts / NHL / 1974
(Five years to land teams in all of the "Big Four" leagues.)

Denver Broncos / NFL / 1970
Denver Nuggets / NBA / 1976
Colorado Rockies / NHL / 1976
(Six years to land three teams amongst the "Big Four".) 






  

 

The difference being that that era in major league sports saw a lot more expansion to legit respond to growing demand for more teams in more places.

 

Although for all 4 examples it also bears repeating that some of the teams didn't take.  Braves bailed on Buffalo, Rockets bailed on San Diego, Kings AND Scouts bailed on KC, Rockies (who were the former Scouts!) bailed on Denver.

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15 hours ago, AustinFomBoston said:

Was The Rays attendance even that much better during 08 when they made the World Series? Did they even sell out any of their home games? 

 

A little bit, not much.  Nor did they get a significant attendance boost the year after, which often happens.

 

The attendance was maybe a little less bad during their amazing run, but it sure as hell didn't even begin to approach "good".

 

Year

No of Home Games

Total Attendance

Average Attendance

Rank

2007

81

1,387,603

17,130

29 out of 30

2008

80

1,780,791

22,259

26 out of 30

2009

81

1,874,962

23,147

23 out of 30

 

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45 minutes ago, rmc523 said:

I agree.  South Florida will show up for a winning team.

 

I think the Marlins will be ok long term; it'll take years of being competently run without blowing the team up every few years, and obviously success/winning, but I think the market will warm up to them should it those things happen.  They've just been raked through the coals every time the start to have a reason to support the team, so people are leery to support them.

I agree that Miami has potential, but they desperately need a competent owner, and one that doesn't just **** all over the fans' goodwill with constant fire sales and just a distinct like of connecting with the fans. And what you said here is the same point I made: owners may have screwed the city over for good - every time the team is burned to the ground, it makes it harder for fans to stick with the team, knowing that after any success, the team will be destroyed, so there's no reason to get attached to any of the players. 

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I'm sure this was already said so I'll just join whoever already said it - Tampa's baseball problems are the result of one thing and one thing only - bad stadium in a bad location. Period. I don't know why this is so routinely dismissed as just one small factor. It's THE factor. It's not because of "too many transplants", not "too many Yankees fans", not "it's where spring training is", not "people there don't like baseball". It's the stadium and the stadium location. The Rays TV ratings are strong, there's support for a local team, it's just there aren't a lot of people who want to drive 2 hours round trip to see weeknight baseball game in an awful environment.

 

I can only speak to my own experience, but I live 10 minutes away Great American Ballpark, which is an awesome ballpark, and I go to games all the time because it's close and easy and a pleasant experience. I'd go to significantly fewer games if the stadium was a lifeless shell an hour away in Sparta, KY (chosen because it's 1 hour away not counting rush hour traffic and I'd have to cross a bridge). Put a good stadium on the Tampa side and all their problems would go away. 

 

I'd love to see another major league team come back to Montreal, but not in a half-step hybrid dual-citizenship way. This is clearly a ploy to figure out a stadium in a more reachable and centralized place for the core of the fanbase.

 

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52 minutes ago, QueenCitySwarm said:

I agree that Miami has potential, but they desperately need a competent owner, and one that doesn't just **** all over the fans' goodwill with constant fire sales and just a distinct like of connecting with the fans. And what you said here is the same point I made: owners may have screwed the city over for good - every time the team is burned to the ground, it makes it harder for fans to stick with the team, knowing that after any success, the team will be destroyed, so there's no reason to get attached to any of the players. 

 

Well that's why I said it'll take years of consistent ownership fielding competitive teams to overcome that.  I don't think it's completely destroyed yet, though I feel the move of getting rid of everyone - while arguably necessary to do a full rebuild - was a bad way to start things off as new owners....it just looked like same old Marlins, but long term they'll hopefully be better.  If they do it again, though, may as well close up shop.

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13 hours ago, 63Bulldogs63 said:

 

In fairness to the Angel's their ballpark is the 4th or 5th oldest in the league. Just cause someone gets a boob job and some lipo in their 50's , doesn't make them younger. 

 

They've had a well know rat problem at the stadium. And while enjoy going to games there. I can see why they really could use a new stadium. A lot of bad awkward sightlines from it being a multipurpose previously in life.

 

Oh I’m not saying they couldn’t benefit from a new park, nor that they’re wrong to want one. But it’s not like it’s a critical need. An exterminator could solve the rat problem in a week. And they’ve had those same sightline issues since the park opened (long before it was converted for the Rams). If they weren’t a big issue for 50 years prior they’re not a big issue now.

 

And more importantly they have little leverage. No one believes for a second they’d abandon the second largest market in the US (and more important the TV deal that allows them to command) for any other market. Of all teams wanting a park they’ve got the least leverage in any ballpark negotiation. They’re not moving.

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14 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

I do not dismiss the sadness involved in losing a team. I recently wrote on this website about the unpleasant feeling of losing my connection to the Nets

Your team moved 14 miles. My team would move to a different country.

 

As far as I know, you stopped following the Nets because they adopted the Brooklyn name. I have nothing against that. The difference is, however, you could still go to games if you wanted to. That’s not a possibility for me or any other Rays fans in Florida. Let’s be real, even if the dual-city thing happened, it wouldn’t last for long.

 

And honestly, I agree with the statement that the Rays never should’ve existed. The Trop was a dump the second it opened. Except they do exist, and whether you (not specifically you, but just saying “you” in general) believe it or not, they will be leaving a pretty sizable fanbase behind.

 

Florida is the third largest state in the country by population. I know very few baseball fans in my generation that, if they were raised here, don’t support the Rays (or Marlins). Their parents may have their separate allegiances (my dad is a Reds fan), but eventually the kids will grow up and the Rays and Marlins will finally have a fanbase that will pay for merchandise and to go to games. The first few people that fit into that group are just emerging now for the Rays, and did a few years ago for the Marlins.

 

If you don’t feel like the Rays should stay, that’s fine. I’m not going to take it personally. I just want to give our side of the argument the light of day. Because, at least for me, I’m not moving on to the Marlins or Braves or whoever if the Rays move. If they leave, my interest in baseball will never be the same, if it will even be there at all.

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We’ve been hearing “kids that grow up knowing these teams will create a fan base” forever. The Marlins are what - 26 years, and the Rays 21? I guess maybe 30 is when it’s fair to judge, but in at least the Marlins case we’re creeping up on that and it’s not looking good. 

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25 minutes ago, Magic Dynasty said:

Your team moved 14 miles. My team would move to a different country.

 

As far as I know, you stopped following the Nets because they adopted the Brooklyn name. I have nothing against that. The difference is, however, you could still go to games if you wanted to. That’s not a possibility for me or any other Rays fans in Florida. Let’s be real, even if the dual-city thing happened, it wouldn’t last for long.

 

And honestly, I agree with the statement that the Rays never should’ve existed. The Trop was a dump the second it opened. Except they do exist, and whether you (not specifically you, but just saying “you” in general) believe it or not, they will be leaving a pretty sizable fanbase behind.

 

Florida is the third largest state in the country by population. I know very few baseball fans in my generation that, if they were raised here, don’t support the Rays (or Marlins). Their parents may have their separate allegiances (my dad is a Reds fan), but eventually the kids will grow up and the Rays and Marlins will finally have a fanbase that will pay for merchandise and to go to games. The first few people that fit into that group are just emerging now for the Rays, and did a few years ago for the Marlins.

 

If you don’t feel like the Rays should stay, that’s fine. I’m not going to take it personally. I just want to give our side of the argument the light of day. Because, at least for me, I’m not moving on to the Marlins or Braves or whoever if the Rays move. If they leave, my interest in baseball will never be the same, if it will even be there at all.

Both franchises have been around long enough for the “kids to grow up” I am that generation of “kids” and we have the income to go see games but still choose not to. I went to one game at the trop and never went back because the experience was horrible. I’m a Red Sox fan but even then you’d think I’d still try to see a game a year but the experience was :censored:. There are no people from my mid 20’s age bracket that are a fan of the rays or they are few and far between. Now the lightning are another story, virtually everyone from my age group are lightning fans and that just shows the connection and success that has lead to them being the favorite team for them. Even more than the Bucs, who’s decade plus long period of ineptitude has killed that fan base.

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As long as those former kids now adult Tampa residents have to go to the crappy Stadium in St Pete it doesn't matter. It's not a fair test. Everyone in Tampa younger than 30 is a Lightning fan? What's the difference between them and the Rays? The Lightning play in a nice and accessible building. 

 

I don't know why people want so badly to prove the "wait for the kids to grow into ticket buying adults" wrong. So many people my age were kids around the same time the Devil Rays started as when the Columbus Blue Jackets started. We're now buying tickets and the team's healthier than ever. Anytime that's brought up around here, posters, usually from larger, more established sports markets feel the need to declare it fallacious. In the right conditions it makes a lot of sense. Tampa's baseball fans haven't been given the right conditions. 

 

 

 

Why isn't Miami working? I don't know. Miami is Miami. That's one of the most different places on Earth. I don't know if you can apply any rules to how things work elsewhere to how things work in Miami. 

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3 hours ago, McCarthy said:

I'm sure this was already said so I'll just join whoever already said it - Tampa's baseball problems are the result of one thing and one thing only - bad stadium in a bad location. Period. I don't know why this is so routinely dismissed as just one small factor. It's THE factor. It's not because of "too many transplants", not "too many Yankees fans", not "it's where spring training is", not "people there don't like baseball". It's the stadium and the stadium location. The Rays TV ratings are strong, there's support for a local team, it's just there aren't a lot of people who want to drive 2 hours round trip to see weeknight baseball game in an awful environment.


THIS.  

 

As a baseball fan, I've experienced first hand how long of a drive it is across downtown Tampa, across the Howard Frankland Bridge and down the Pinellas peninsula to this stadium, and how far away the stadium is from the existing and potential fan base (which I would, in fact, extend up to Orlando).  As a planner, I always wanted to find a accurate graphic to show how badly this stadium is located in terms of being accessible to its fan base. 

After some Google search, I think I've about found it.   It's not perfect-- I was looking for one of those maps with scattered dots representing population density, but what I found should do. Here is a map, developed using University of Florida data, showing the 2005 urbanized/populated areas of Florida, focusing on Tampa Bay with the outskirts of Orlando in the upper-middle-right.  Tropicana Field is shown as the yellow dot in St. Petersburg:spacer.png 

 

You'll see that there is while the Pinellas peninsula is almost 100% developed, there is still more developed area, with houses, neighborhoods; people on the immediate northeast (Tampa) side of the bay.  Being almost at the tip of the Pinellas peninsula, the stadium location stands out as being surrounded on almost 3 sides by water.  And there is a lot of development along the I-4 corridor to Orlando, which will become even more developed in the future, as these growth prediction map from the same source show: 

 

spacer.png

 

All of that red, orange and yellow growth is and will continue to be occurring north, south and east of Tampa.  Pinellas is built out, hemmed in by water, and can't grow anymore. 

 

An "urban" stadium located in downtown Tampa would become immediately more accessible to fans and a hit with purists, but it may be more advantageous attendance-wise to pull an Atlanta Braves or Texas Rangers and place a new stadium somewhere in the eastern 'burbs, maybe near the I-4/I-75 interchange.  I'm certain that a location there starts to get you a lot more Lakeland, Winter Haven, even Orlando fan flow-- heck, three of the four times I've seen the Rays I drove down from Disney, and the drive from the House of Mouse to the edge of Tampa is only 1/2 the total length-- you still have to cross all of Tampa, the Bay, and down a ways to downtown St. Pete to get to the baseball stadium.

And as McCarthy noted, the stadium is also a bad joke. It has the misfortune of being the last permanently domed baseball stadium built before retractable roofs became a thing, and also the last one completed before the renaissance in baseball stadiums began with Camden Yards.  I've been to a lot of baseball stadiums in my life, and the only worse one I can recall was the Kingdome-- a great big antiseptic mausoleum.  And just as the Kingdome was replaced after 23 years of baseball (1976-99), Tropicana Field needs to be replaced the same way after a similar time span (1998 to 2019 =21 years at present; give a few more years for a new stadium to be constructed). 

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23 hours ago, pmoehrin said:

The Rays can talk to Montreal all they want, but the city of St. Pete has already announced any potential move like this violates their lease agreement.

 

I doubt the Rays are going anywhere until at least 2027.

is there a way to get out of it (with money).  at this point, i feel like the Rays should say we will try to play in 2 Cities and tell Tampa to go and pound sand.

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42 minutes ago, goalieboy82 said:

is there a way to get out of it (with money).  at this point, i feel like the Rays should say we will try to play in 2 Cities and tell Tampa to go and pound sand.

 

There is. It would cost the Rays about $200 million for each year the Trop goes without a tenant. To leave the Trop now, the Rays would have to give the city of St. Pete $1.6 billion.

 

This is why the Rays are effectively locked into playing at the Trop for the foreseeable future.

 

Blame Vince Naimoli for signing this crazy lease agreement. This is the only lease in sports where the terms of breaking it are this onerous.

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2 minutes ago, pmoehrin said:

Blame Vince Naimoli for signing this crazy lease agreement. This is the only lease in sports where the terms of breaking it are this onerous.

 

Which sounds horrible and unfair ... but, let's be honest -- this is how we wish ALL sports teams were treated for trying to break their leases on stadiums built with public money.

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18 minutes ago, kimball said:

 

Which sounds horrible and unfair ... but, let's be honest -- this is how we wish ALL sports teams were treated for trying to break their leases on stadiums built with public money.

I would agree...if Tropicana Field weren’t a depressing place to watch a ball game. I love baseball, but watching a game at the Trop just makes me sad. Not about anything in particular. Just sad in general. 

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19 minutes ago, pmoehrin said:

 

There is. It would cost the Rays about $200 million for each year the Trop goes without a tenant. To leave the Trop now, the Rays would have to give the city of St. Pete $1.6 billion.

 

This is why the Rays are effectively locked into playing at the Trop for the foreseeable future.

 

Blame Vince Naimoli for signing this crazy lease agreement. This is the only lease in sports where the terms of breaking it are this onerous.

from what i have read, Vince Naimoli was very cheap.  could MLB (and the current owner say) that they shouldn't be bond by what the last guy did.

 

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  • LMU changed the title to Tampa Bay Rays: Escape from the Trop

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