Call it an all-around epic fail.
To start Major League Baseball’s postseason, the Rangers defeated the Rays in front of a large, stadium-filled-to-the-gills crowd! Just kidding, not about Tampa playing like crap, but the size of those who paid to be in Tropicana Field’s bleachers.
The 19,704 people in attendance was the lowest in MLB playoff history since 1919, the year after World War I ended, per the Elias Sports Bureau, discounting the attendance caps put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, that same 1919 series that involved the Black Sox Scandal. This calamity isn’t just Tampa’s fault or MLB’s error, several things went wrong to achieve this wet fart of a figure.
First, despite the Rays being locked into the No. 4 seed in the American League for multiple days, MLB didn’t announce the start time for Tuesday’s game until ate Sunday night. And clearly factoring in travel didn’t matter, since the Rangers had to travel from Seattle to Tampa. Texas had to miss its formal pre-playoff practice to catch up on rest. Also, Tropicana Field is a dump. With a capacity of 25,000 — close to some Texas high school football stadiums —Rays fans filled in just under 79% of the stadium. For a playoff game, not selling out the stadium is abysmal, especially when you need a little more than an additional 5,000 fans. How many people in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas were watching the game at a bar and skipped work anyway? It’s an absolute joke. And you can’t blame Rangers fans for not traveling. Why would opposing fans want to visit the porcelain throne of professional baseball venues?
The weirdest part about setting that benchmark is Game 2’s attendance has a high chance of being even lower. The Rays had a horrible performance against the Rangers and those chomping at the bit to see Tampa in the playoffs witnessed Game 1 of the Wild Card showdown. There’s almost no incentive to go to Game 2. If the Rays turn it around and force a Game 3, maybe Thursday’s attendance will be better. But with how resilient the Rays were throughout the season, playing to a 79 percent full crowd is quite the eye-sore. Not as bad as those catwalks, though.
Tampa had the fourth-worst attendance mark in the regular season, only doing better than fellow Florida playoff team Miami, as well as two of MLB’s worst teams in Oakland and Kansas City. The team has announced plans to build a bigger stadium to replace Tropicana Field, where the Rays have played since their first season in 1998.
After Tuesday’s display, that new home can’t come fast enough.
Original source here
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