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Where are the fans?
September 28, 2010 - Seth Staskey
There was a time long ago when I thought Tampa Bay was a good sports town. I couldn't have been any more wrong.
First off, the Tampa Bay Rays currently own the best record in Major League Baseball and are within a victory or a Red Sox loss of clinching their second playoff spot in three years. To take it a step further, they have a magic number of five to clinch the A.L. East title and make the Yankees the Wild Card.
However, during last night's game against Baltimore, who I realize stinks and has long been out of the race, no more than 10,000 tickets were sold. That was the announced attendance, but there weren't that many in the crowd. It's really disappointing. I don't think the stadium is all that nice for baseball and I understand it's a small market, but we're talking about a team in the race.
Okay, so maybe you could just assume the Tampa Bay fans don't like baseball. However, the Bucaneers, who won the Super Bowl in 2002, couldn't sell out their game again. This week it was against the Steelers, who are one of the best fanbases in the country and take over most of the stadium. Unfortunately, NFL TV rules say the game is blacked out in the local area. I don't agree with that rule because not everyone can afford or is able to go to the game.
However, having said that, I am guessing in a major metropolitan city like Tampa Bay, there are 65,000 people who can afford to come. Obviously, not everyone likes it or wants to come. I get that too, but somehow, someway these teams need support.
Heck, you could say well Tampa fans knew they were up against a real challenge, so they're fair weathered. Well, that doesn't fly obviously in baseball and the Bucs didn't sell out their game against Cleveland, which many football fans expect to be a victory.
Get with it Tampa Bay residents. Realize a good thing when you have it. There are plenty of cities in the United States, which would die for those franchises.
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