• Hey, Tampa. Get Ready To Lose Your Baseball Team.

    Posted by on July 11th, 2012 · Comments (43)

    Bud Selig on the Tampa Bay Rays attendance issues:

    “What I’ve said to you in the past, I’ll say to you again, and I’ve said this to Stu quite a bit. I’ve been through a lot of these things over the last 20 years, actually the last 40 years, and I understand that, but, look, they’ve run a great operation, they’re a very competitive organization, they have very competitive teams. As I study the attendance every day, looking where they are, to see that they’re No. 29, I think it is, in attendance is not, is, it’s inexcusable. Nobody can defend that.

    “This is a very competitive baseball team. I know they’ve had a lot of injuries, so on and so forth, and they’ve missing (Evan) Longoria and all that is true. But the average major-league attendance is between 31,000 and 32,000 and if my memory is serving me well this morning, it’s about 19,000 something, Tampa’s attendance. Now if they were a club in last place every year the last five years you’d say, well, look, after all, you are what you are and you’ve got to do better.

    “It’s disappointing. And I know that people down there, some people, will be offended. Not the fans, not the people who go every day and I know they have great intensity, the people there. As all of you know, I watch a lot of games every day, sometimes all 15 of them, and I pay great attention not only to what’s happening on the field, but to the attendance.

    “So to use my father’s old line, nothing is ever good or bad except by comparison. I’ll rest my case. It’s disappointing. And I’m concerned.”

    How much longer until Bud and Stu work on a negotiated settlement with Tampa to get the Rays out of their lease before 2027?

    Comments on Hey, Tampa. Get Ready To Lose Your Baseball Team.

    1. MJ Recanati
      July 11th, 2012 | 2:28 pm

      The thing is, I just don’t know where they’d move to. There just aren’t too many cities in the US that can support — both financially and emotionally — a major league baseball team for 81 games a year.

      Moving the ballclub out of Tampa may be the right move but it’s a quandry as to where they can be moved to.

    2. July 11th, 2012 | 2:53 pm

      It’s a shame that the Mets and Yankees can block NJ – because it would be the best place for them…and would work better against the Yankees than any luxury tax attempts, etc.

    3. MJ Recanati
      July 11th, 2012 | 2:55 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      It’s a shame that the Mets and Yankees can block NJ – because it would be the best place for them…and would work better against the Yankees than any luxury tax attempts, etc.

      It’s a shame? Why a Yankee fan would want that, I have no idea.

    4. July 11th, 2012 | 2:56 pm

      After NJ, my guess is that Charlotte or Portland would get consideration.

    5. clintfsu813
      July 11th, 2012 | 3:18 pm

      OKC?

    6. MJ Recanati
      July 11th, 2012 | 3:35 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      After NJ, my guess is that Charlotte or Portland would get consideration.

      Charlotte is failing with basketball and has poor attendance numbers for the NFL. Given the 2007-2011 credit crunch and Bank of America’s horrific performance during the crisis, I don’t see how Charlotte is a viable candidate for a sport that requires an 81-game commitment.

      Portland, perhaps, but it would create a realignment issue if Tampa was moved to the AL West. Someone from the AL Central would have to move to the AL East and the Astros would have to be returned to the central division (this time AL instead of NL). I highly doubt that any of the current AL Central teams want to move into a division with the Yankees and Red Sox.

    7. July 11th, 2012 | 4:13 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Why a Yankee fan would want that, I have no idea.

      To shut everyone up. As a Yankees fan, I am tired of hearing everyone bitch about the Yankees having a revenue advantage that allows them to spend $200 million on payroll when most good teams only spend about $100 million.

      Now, of course, the answer here would be for the Yankees to put together a winning team with a payroll around $100 million. But, their current GM is not capable of doing that.

      So, the next best solution to shutting everyone up, and stop their whining, is to create a situation where the Yankees won’t have that much to spend.

      And, if they can’t put together a winning team for $100 million, then shame on them – and it, perhaps, will force them to get a GM who can do it.

    8. Raf
      July 11th, 2012 | 4:44 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      To shut everyone up. As a Yankees fan, I am tired of hearing everyone bitch about the Yankees having a revenue advantage that allows them to spend $200 million on payroll when most good teams only spend about $100 million.

      Tell them to STFU, because they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Again, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, etc don’t and won’t play for the league minimum. Nor should they.

      The Yankees have a revenue advantage because they are a worldwide brand, that’s why. I can (and have) watch a Yankees game in Peru, Japan, & Honduras. What other team can say that? They’re the crown jewel of MLB no matter how much MLB would like to deny it. They have the cachet that the Dodgers, the Giants and Mets don’t and never will, though admittedly, the Giants were there for a while until the Yankees got Babe Ruth.

      People have been whining about the Yankees buying players every freaking decade.

    9. Raf
      July 11th, 2012 | 4:45 pm

      As for Selig, he needs a healthy dose of STFU too. Especially after the crap he pulled with the Expos. Dumbass.

    10. dsss
      July 11th, 2012 | 4:47 pm

      You can’t have your biases determine the facts. Currently there 9 teams with a 2012 payroll over $100 million and another 6 between $93 and $100 million. Unless those 6 cut spending, they are likely to go over $100 million next year. So essentially your condemning half the teams.

    11. MJ Recanati
      July 11th, 2012 | 4:51 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      As a Yankees fan, I am tired of hearing everyone bitch about the Yankees having a revenue advantage

      If you’re tired of hearing it, either plug your ears, pick another team or come up with a counterargument.

      Steve L. wrote:

      most good teams only spend about $100 million.

      The average payroll in baseball is $98M so it’s more than just “good” teams spending nine figures. Moreover, the way baseball has disincentivized winning (by not imposing a salary floor), it’s hard to look at team payroll as the final word on winning. Some teams could easily afford to spend more but simply choose not to. That’s not the Yankees’ fault, nor is it their problem.

      Steve L. wrote:

      Now, of course, the answer here would be for the Yankees to put together a winning team with a payroll around $100 million. But, their current GM is not capable of doing that.

      Your opinion does not equate to verifiable fact. Moreover, because no rule exists that prevents the Yankees (or Philles, Red Sox or Angels) from spending upwards of $150M on their payroll, why would the Yankees willingly choose to handcuff themselves to an arbitrary threshold merely to delight your tender sensibilities?

      Steve L. wrote:

      So, the next best solution to shutting everyone up, and stop their whining, is to create a situation where the Yankees won’t have that much to spend.

      Since it only bothers you and not the Yankees, this is a poor argument.

      No Yankee fan should wish the team to purposely sit on its biggest advantage. I know you’re a Yankee fan but you have a very curious way of expressing it some times. You’re blessed to have been born in the area. Had you been born in Kansas City or Pittsburgh, would you be happy rooting for a $60M loser every year?

    12. MJ Recanati
      July 11th, 2012 | 4:53 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Tell them to STFU, because they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Again, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, etc don’t and won’t play for the league minimum. Nor should they.The Yankees have a revenue advantage because they are a worldwide brand, that’s why. I can (and have) watch a Yankees game in Peru, Japan, & Honduras. What other team can say that? They’re the crown jewel of MLB no matter how much MLB would like to deny it. They have the cachet that the Dodgers, the Giants and Mets don’t and never will, though admittedly, the Giants were there for a while until the Yankees got Babe Ruth.People have been whining about the Yankees buying players every freaking decade.

      All of this.

    13. Evan3457
      July 11th, 2012 | 5:18 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      So, the next best solution to shutting everyone up, and stop their whining, is to create a situation where the Yankees won’t have that much to spend.

      And in what way would moving Tampa to NJ keep the Yankees from having as much to spend as they have now?

      YES network would still exist. Teams that transplant take a very long time to become as accepted in an existing market as the teams already there, or even expansion teams. For example: in what way have the New Jersey Devils diminished the loyalties of the fans of the New York Rangers, or their revenue stream? It’s the Islanders that have died, financially, not the Rangers. Do you really want to hurt the Mets that badly?

      Teams have to be extremely desparate to transplant into the market of an already established team, let along two.

    14. July 11th, 2012 | 6:39 pm

      The answer is contraction. Baseball has too many teams, Tampa was a mistake in the first place.

      What I would propose would be to eliminate Tampa altogether and merge Oakland and Kansas City. The team would of course be based in KC, calling themselves the Royal A’s (just a thought). The history of the two franchises could be preserved, with the division titles, pennants and championships counted together. The A’s left Kansas City after 67 so in a sense they would be returning to their roots (well kind of, the team was originally based in Philadelphia).

      This solves a variety of issues, the bay area error (two teams) is solved. Houston can then stay in the National League where it belongs. Baseball could expand rosters to 27 creating 28 new jobs in each league or 56 total which should placate the union (it actually adds 6 major league jobs). Two small market teams disappear which has revenue benefits for everyone else. When I was young, pitching staffs made up about 40% of the 25 man roster, today staffs represent about 48% (sometimes more). This would give us a middle point (about 44%), It would allow for more in game position moves.

    15. 77yankees
      July 11th, 2012 | 10:05 pm

      Part of Tampa’s problem is that in the new age of ballparks & stadiums, they play in THE most dank depressing looking venue in any sport. Tropicana actually threw their money in to sponsor this???

    16. EHawk
      July 12th, 2012 | 1:35 am

      Thought I would chime in on this topic since I’m a Yankees fan that lives in Tampa (Moved here from NY about 5 years ago) and I attend probably 5-10 Rays games a season. I try to go see them play the Yanks as much as I can but will catch some other games too. I have to agree its a shame that the community doesn’t come out to see the games but the stadium is in St. Pete in a bad location and not easy to get in and out of.

      Most the population of the Tampa area is across the Bay in Tampa and getting across the bridges during rush hour to get to a weekday game is not easy. I know the Rays are trying to get people to game with giveaways and concerts after Sat games in the summer. Tickets are cheap so that isn’t the issue…you can get plenty of upper level seats for $12 a ticket which is actually less then their parking of $15…how many MLB stadiums have tickets less then parking??

      The sentiment here in Tampa is if the Rays get a new stadium in downtown Tampa then they will get that 30K a night attendance but I’m not sure. I’m sure the Rays owners are looking closely at the Marlins new stadium attendance numbers this season and from what I’ve heard they aren’t doing so great now that they aren’t playing well. There was a poll that came out a few weeks ago here that said the Yankees were the most popular baseball team in FL ahead of the Rays and Marlins. Its going to take a lot of years of generations growing up Rays fans to change that around. Hope they keep the team in the Tampa area but I have a feeling they may not. Possible places they could move to I’d say why not San Antonio or Las Vegas or maybe Indy?

    17. Raf
      July 12th, 2012 | 7:21 am

      @ EHawk:
      They’re posturing for a shiny new ballpark, the Rays aren’t going anywhere :)

    18. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 10:21 am

      EHawk wrote:

      San Antonio or Las Vegas or maybe Indy?

      Las Vegas, with its connection to gambling, is not a place that most pro leagues are interested in moving to.

      I highly doubt San Antonio can support an 81-game home schedule. They’re a one-team town.

      Indy’s a decent option but moving to the rust belt seems like a bad way to go in the long-term.

    19. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 10:36 am

      @ MJ Recanati: Plenty of places that they can move to. Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, New Jersey. Even outside the US, like Mexico City, Vancouver.

    20. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 10:40 am

      @ Raf: Couldn’t agree with you more. As a Red Sox fan, I’m so tired of hearing how the Yankees and Sox have an advantage because of the payroll. The reason is because they have competetive teams year after year and fans that support them because of that. The Sox and Yankees have had supportive fans way before the payrolls got out of hand. The Rays are no different. If only they would have fans support the team, they would be able to have a higher payroll. So all you fans who hate the Yankees and Sox, TUFF! Go and support your team, win or lose, and stop your crying.

    21. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 11:10 am

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, New Jersey.

      Don’t agree on Vegas (gambling) and don’t see SLC as being a big enough markets to sustain major league baseball.

      Santa Fe? Kidding, right? The 45th largest TV market in the country, one with no record of any pro teams in the state, is not getting a major league baseball team.

      Portland is probably the best option from a market standpoint but it raises a major realignment issue in that one team from the current central division (either AL or NL) would have to move to the AL East and there’s just no team in baseball that wants to move into a division with the Yankees and Red Sox.

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      Even outside the US, like Mexico City, Vancouver.

      Vancouver presents the same issue as Portland in that it causes a realignment headache. I don’t think the Mexican option is a bad one but I don’t think they’re ready to move a big league club outside of US borders to Mexico.

    22. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 11:12 am

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      Plenty of places that they can move to. New Jersey.

      Yanks, Mets and Phillies will never waive their territorial rights to let another team into the region without the sorts of major financial concessions that would likely strangle the relocated team into wishing they had never left Tampa in the first place.

    23. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 11:34 am

      @ MJ Recanati: The Mets, Phillies, and Yankees territorial rights only cover 7 of the 21 counties in NJ. Plenty of space in the rest of the state to have a team.

      http://www.cbabaseball.com/rules/index.php?title=Territorial_Rights_(MLB)

    24. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 11:50 am

      @ RoadToOctober:
      But those seven counties are the only places you’d want to bring a ballclub. You’re not going to get financing for a MLB stadium in Monmouth or Ocean county and you’re not going to have the corporate and fan support needed to sustain a ballclub. There’s a reason why teams don’t just relocate to the suburbs.

    25. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 12:08 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: Middlesex County would work. New Jersey or Connecticut have a major revenue stream that is currently untapped. The MSG network has little summer programming of note that would draw in potential viewers since the Yankees formed the YES Network and the Mets, along with Time Warner and Comcast, started SNY. There probably is more than $60 million on the table waiting for a third New York City area team.

    26. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 12:21 pm

      @ RoadToOctober:
      Why would MSG pony up big rights fees to a team whose initial viewership would be severely hampered by being smack dab in between Phillies, Mets and Yankees fans? What sort of nightly rating would the Middlesex County ballclub pull in?

      Agree to disagree on this entire line of conversation.

    27. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 12:31 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: MLB did a study back in 2000 on the viability of cities to host a MLB franchise. NJ scored at the top. If the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies were properly compensated, it could work.

      This is just a theory anyway. I personally think Portland, OR is the best place. TV market ranks higher than Baltimore, San Diego, KC, Milwaukee, among others.

    28. July 12th, 2012 | 3:09 pm

      There are too many teams to begin with, in the next half century baseball will be dealing with cutting the number to around 24. Well I should say there are too many American based teams. The next wave of growth will be international, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see half dozen major league teams based in Japan and China (maybe South Korea). This will be a slow and difficult process and we may see some multi-regional teams (let’s say the Reds for example), that will be stationed at various points in the season in different major league markets that will no longer have full time representation.

    29. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 3:42 pm

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      MLB did a study back in 2000 on the viability of cities to host a MLB franchise. NJ scored at the top. If the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies were properly compensated, it could work.

      I’m looking at a copy of the 2000 Blue Ribbon Report. Don’t see any specific reference to New Jersey in there. Please provide evidence of your claim.

      Moreover, I’d imagine that economics in baseball have changed dramaticaly since 2000.

      Finally — and this is something I believe wholeheartedly — that report was mainly a piece of hackery that Bud Selig purchased in order to sell a version of reality that was skewed to justifying his opinion on baseball’s economics. I take the findings of that report with a fairly large grain of salt.

    30. Greg H.
      July 12th, 2012 | 3:48 pm

      This may be naive as hell, but would San Juan, PR be a viable option for the Rays? Lots of baseball fans down there, and it’s still the USA.

    31. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 3:58 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      This may be naive as hell, but would San Juan, PR be a viable option for the Rays? Lots of baseball fans down there, and it’s still the USA.

      It’s not just about fans. It’s about the economic climate and financial strength of the market. Does Puerto Rico have enough of a corporate presence to invest in the team (luxury boxes, club seats, stadium naming rights, advertising). Are locals in PR wealthy enough to support a franchise for 81 games?

      All of this assumes that the Rays are willing to pay for their own stadium since I very highly doubt that Puerto Rico has the appetite to build a second stadium on the island (I’ve been to Hiram Bithorn Stadium; it’s not up to MLB standards at this point).

    32. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 4:02 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: This is directly from the report:

      The Blue Ribbon panel advocated “strategic franchise relocations” to better markets. It suggested that struggling teams might consider moving “to a very large market already occupied by one or more high-revenue clubs.” This applies to Washington, D.C., which is lobbying for a team — but also to northern New Jersey, an even better market which is currently considered part of the New York territory.

    33. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 5:30 pm

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      The Blue Ribbon panel advocated “strategic franchise relocations” to better markets. It suggested that struggling teams might consider moving “to a very large market already occupied by one or more high-revenue clubs.” This applies to Washington, D.C., which is lobbying for a team — but also to northern New Jersey, an even better market which is currently considered part of the New York territory.

      Give me a page number or a section number because I have the report open right now and didn’t see any of that.

    34. MJ Recanati
      July 12th, 2012 | 5:30 pm

      @ RoadToOctober:

      Here’s what I’m looking at. Show me where you’re reading this.

      mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/blue_ribbon.pdf

    35. Raf
      July 12th, 2012 | 5:44 pm

      Portland OR is a no go, especially in light of them recently losing the Beavers, after they were unable to come to terms with a stadium deal.

    36. RoadToOctober
      July 12th, 2012 | 6:09 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: Sections IV.9. and IV.6.

      http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/baseball/blueribbon.htm

    37. MJ Recanati
      July 13th, 2012 | 8:21 am

      @ RoadToOctober:
      I looked at both sections you cited and there was no mention of anything you stated. The link you provided is Doug Pappas’s third-party analysis with its own recommendations, but not a part of the 2000 Blue Ribbon paper.

    38. MJ Recanati
      July 13th, 2012 | 8:22 am

      Raf wrote:

      Portland OR is a no go, especially in light of them recently losing the Beavers, after they were unable to come to terms with a stadium deal.

      Very good point. I forgot about that whole stadium fiasco in Portland from a few years ago.

    39. RoadToOctober
      July 13th, 2012 | 9:52 am

      @ MJ Recanati: MJ, whats your endgame here? The parts in my post that were in quotes were from the report. The other parts were speculation from people in the know.

      Not sure what your stake in all of this is. We’re having a conversation here. Experts who analyzed the report stated that NJ matched with what the report was describing. That was the point of my original comment OK?

    40. MJ Recanati
      July 13th, 2012 | 10:23 am

      @ RoadToOctober:
      No endgame and no stake at all. Merely pointing out that the 2000 Blue Ribbon report is a public record available on the internet as a full and complete document and I find nothing in that report to support your claim.

      As you said, we’re conversing. I don’t see NJ (or CT) as a feasible future landing spot for a relocated (or expansion) team. You’ve taken the contrary position by offering up information that I can’t independently verify so I’ve asked you to do so. All I’ve done is rebut (sp?) your position by pointing out that I fail to see where you’re substantiating your claim beyond citing a third-party report that states opinion without factual support. Nothing more.

      I was happy to leave the conversation alone about five exchanges ago (http://tinyurl.com/6mq9shl) but you kept on insisting that this information was in that 2000 Blue Ribbon report. I’m happy to leave it alone now, too.

    41. RoadToOctober
      July 13th, 2012 | 10:34 am

      I quoted you from the report, the part about NJ specifically being mentioned is not, I thought i made it clear that was just speculation.

      You needed to come back with: “Give me a page number or a section number because I have the report open right now and didn’t see any of that.” What a tough guy?

      Tell me MJ, can I have the number of the people you spoke to with the different clubs when you stated: “Yanks, Mets and Phillies will never waive their territorial rights” or was the merely an opinion? if it was, then please say so, since i apparently have to do the same.

    42. MJ Recanati
      July 13th, 2012 | 12:18 pm

      RoadToOctober wrote:

      What a tough guy?

      LOL. Take it easy, we’re just conversing.

    43. RoadToOctober
      July 13th, 2012 | 12:46 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: Haha, well I thought we were, but you came across pretty strong.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.