SPORTS BLOG: When will Florida get into Major League Baseball?

I went on a journey to the other side of the state on Saturday to go see the Tampa Bay Rays play the Toronto Blue Jays. The group arrived early to watch the 3:30 college football games, and more specifically, the Florida-Tennessee game. They guys in my group steered us to Ferg’s, a huge sports bar within easy walking distance of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

The bar was dominated by projection screen TVs, oversized plastic cups of beer, and of course, Gator fans. The Florida-Tennessee game has been a great rivalry for quite some time, and the fans were out in full-force to cheer for the undisputed #1 team in college football. That game ended just in time for us to make our way to the stadium and get there for the beginning of O Canada.

With my free Matt Garza bobblehead doll in hand, I settle into my seat and look around. The first pitch is about to be thrown, and I see a half-full stadium. The reigning American League Champions are 13 games out of the Wild Card position and a disappointing 77-73 this year. Their record, however, is far from bad and they have a fun team to watch. Along with the free bobbleheads, it was also Latin Night at the park. With two promotions going, they still only managed a paid attendance of 22,705 on a Saturday night.

The game was great, as Matt Garza pitched a shutout through 7.1 innings while striking out 10 Blue Jays. The Rays scored four first inning runs to complete the game’s scoring, and they defeated Toronto 4-0. I know that watching eight innings of scoreless baseball isn’t fun for most people, but there was never really a point where the crowd was into the game.

After Garza left the game, we left too. We got back to Ferg’s and the place was still packed with rabid football fans that could care less about Garza, his bobblehead, or the Rays. What else do the Rays have to do to pull fans into the gate? Between the Marlins and Rays, they’ve won three World Series over the last 12 years. Nobody seems to notice.

With an average attendance of 23,971 and 17,906 respectively, the Rays and Marlins are 20th and 29th out of 30 Major League Baseball teams. Combining the attendance of the two teams would still leave their average attendance at less than the Phillies, Yankees, and Dodgers.

Related Articles

Comments are closed.