Smoking Mirrors I’ll Let You Be The Judge of That ……………
Now if someone had suggested to me that one eighth of the way into the MLB season that sitting atop of the AL East there would be the Tampa Bay Rays with the best record (14-5) in baseball. I’d swear that you were either out of your damn mind or that you’d been drinking far more than is usual. But here it is this Joe Maddon managed team possesses the best record in baseball and perhaps the “most well rounded team” ? The always competitive and universally hated New York Yankees sit a mere 1 1/2 games behind the Rays. They are then followed by the Toronto Blue Jays , Boston Red Sox and the laconic Baltimore Orioles. Shout out to my boy KP and his Orioles. Success for Kev and his boys will be deemed agreeable if they barely attain the .500 mark for their regular season . He’s under the impression that they’re still pursuing excellence . The only thing that the Orioles have been pursuing since the retirement of Cal Ripken has been sheer mediocrity ! If I’m wrong then please lead to the facts that clearly point that out ?
Slideshow gallery for your perusal .
Now while everyone may well admire the Rays’ organization from afar and the way that they’ve gone about doing things. Note this as a prime example of what is wrong with the game of baseball from a financial standpoint. The team in terms of its payroll is in the bottom half in all baseball for the year 2010. Of the thirty major league teams the Rays are 21st in terms of its salary payroll with a figure of $71,923,471 for this year . And in that regard it is a mere pittance in terms of what will be paid out by the game’s biggest salaried team which is of course the New York Yankees with a figure of $206,333,389 . That figure averages out to be $8,253,3346 per player on the active roster. Whereas , the figure for the Rays averages out to be $2,663, 832 per player. Do you believe that to be some sort of an imbalance ? Granted , the Yankees have vast financial resources which to pull from with its YES Network cable outlet and its newly built Yankees Stadium which is as ostentatious, as it is gargantuan in its being . For the Rays it has Tropicana Field and all of the revenues that it can derive thereof other than what it obtains via the MLB hierarchy ancillary rights and through local arrangements with none affiliated local television stations . Those if anything , are few and far between.
Courtesy of Tampa Bay Tribune
Attendance still under microscope for winning Rays
By Joe Henderson , Tampa Bay Tribune
People hereabouts really like to watch the Rays on television. We know this because the ratings are spectacular. People love to listen on radio, wear their T-shirts, talk about them around the water cooler and send me helpful suggestions by e-mail for Joe Maddon.
They like everything about this young, vibrant, exciting team that has rushed to the best record in baseball as the end of April nears.
None of that is likely to help them much at the box office tonight, though, when Oakland comes to Tropicana Field. The Rays have built a legitimate championship contender but they rank just 17th in attendance among the 30 big-league teams.
The crowd of 23,250 Sunday to watch David Price’s four-hit shutout win over Toronto was better than only four of the 15 games played that day around the majors. This was after just 22,056 showed up Friday night for a special promotions night to welcome the Rays back from a record-setting road trip, where they won nine of 10 games.
Even the old reliable ploy of throwing in a free concert didn’t work. Saturday’s gathering of 23,870 for the Rays-Jays and postgame John Fogerty concert was about two-thirds capacity for the Trop. The Rays normally pack the house for their Saturday concert series.
To be fair, the Rays raised ticket prices for weekend games to capitalize on the large appetite for the concert series. They also started a complicated five-tier pricing system this season, and I’ve heard complaints about that.
With Oakland and Kansas City here for the next six games — two teams that fans here routinely manage to ignore — I’m wondering how long it takes for Tampa Bay to take another national beating over the Rays’ chronic attendance woes. I’m guessing the fine folks at “Baseball Tonight” are a day or two away at most from a John Kruk jag about what’s wrong with Tampa Bay as a baseball market.
Crowds usually get better when schools get out for the summer, but that’s not for five or six weeks.
Click on link to read article in its entirety
On the field of play however is where the team now seems to be cashing in and they have most definitely become the envy of a number of their peers around the league. Unfortunately , envy is not something that guarantees on-field success in the game of baseball. One has to play and win at on a consistent basis to prove one’s self worth. And having had a tinge of success as the AL pennant winners and losers in the World Series (2008). The Tampa Bay Rays are looking to make 2010 the year they make a spirited run towards that goal of making another appearance in the games biggest showcase event the World Series. As to whether or not they’re able to make it may well be predicated upon the play and leadership shown by players such as Evan Longoria , Carl Crawford , David Price , James Shield , Ben Zobrist , Matt Garza and most definitely the Rays’ pitching rotation which is the fulcrum behind which this team will either survive or fail.
If there’s one thing that is however troubling in terms of the organization . Then it is the outright support of this team within the greater Tampa Bay area . Crowd averages for the Rays’ games at Tropicana Field are at best 15,000 to 16,000 . And for the organization to remain financially viable they will have to see that figure rise by at least 55 % if there’s a chance to see the club remain within the locale , much less the state of Florida .
With the team having had a successful Spring Training and an even much more unexpected start to the season . The fans have had their interests piqued by this all and hopefully the momentum now underway will be followed by the fans coming out even more and giving the team even more of a vocal support. In a market where the Yankees essentially governs everything. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the teams struggles to lure fans to the ballpark. The only time one would now expect a sellout , would be if their divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees were in town for a series . And thankfully as the Rays play both teams 18 times each season the windfall for a home series is extremely beneficial to the ballclub. Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman wouldn’t want it any other way . And that sentiment would also be reflected by partners Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman as the majority stakeholders in the Rays’ ownership group . And the triumvirate of executives along with the coaching staff and players have gone out of their way to do everything possible to make the Rays’ brand omnipresent within the community .
My own feelings are , that if the Tampa Bay Rays can play a consistent brand of baseball at a .620 clip or better. Then most certainly they’re in with a chance of obtaining a playoff berth. At least a wilcard berth wouldn’t at all be out of their reach , were they to win a minimum of 90-95 games would certainly guarantee a playoff spot. And winning in excess of 100 games would certainly guarantee the AL East division title as champions. Are they capable of sustaining and achieving such a feat ? Well based on what we’ve seen so far this early in the season there’s no reason to believe they can’t accomplish the feat. But the expectations are still high for this a very young team that has grown up in a great deal in the last two or three years.
I’d certainly like to believe that this is what Commissioner Bud Selig had in mind when he stated that he wanted to create something of a fair and balanced playing field for all of the teams within MLB . But somehow one can’t always take the commissioner at his word. This is the highest ranking executive in the game and somehow he was oblivious as to what was going on in front of his very eyes, as the managers players , its union MLBPA and his very own executives and the owners ” all profited from the fraud” perpetrated upon the fans pertaining to the steroid era and the debacle that followed.
As the season unfolds this may well be one of the more intriguing plot lines that we could follows as the Tampa Bay Rays embark on another assault of attaining only their second playoff berth in the ballclub’s short but tumultuous history. They’ve come along way from the days of Vince Naimoli and I’d certainly like to think that under the custodianship of Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman there are some exciting times ahead for the organization ! They’re proving their worth now and it’s time for the fans to get behind the team and really show the rest of the fans around the league how vocal they can be in support of the Rays. On the outside it may well appear that they’re achieving this all with smoking mirrors. But in reality it has all come down to hard work blind faith and ambition to achieve something many had thought improbable.
Your thoughts if any on whether or not the Tampa Bay Rays can continue along this path and win the AL East “divisional crown” outright and perhaps even the World Series itself ? Let me know the pros and cons as ‘you see it” concerning the team ? I’ll look forward to reading your comments.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………..
TLC ………………. “Waterfalls ……………. from the CD Crazysexycool (1995) Lyrics by Lisa Left Eye Lopez
Brenique . Now who amongst you wouldn’t want to wrap themselves around this beauty ?
Do you feel that Brenique has too “much junk in her trunk” ? I certainly don’t feel that she has ! Especially as there’s more cushion for the pushing . Wouldn’t you agree with me on that ?
I bring you my own personal favorite “Web Gem of The Week” ……the delectable Brenique