Longoria speaks to Rays fans


Yesterday there were two things that reminded me that baseball (remember that thing?) is indeed still going through its home stretch and preparing for its playoffs.

1.  My buddy brought to my awareness that the Mets/Brewers starting pitcher matchup was Dickey vs. Bush, which was kind of funny.

2.  And Evan Longoria, the Rays 3rd baseman wrote headlines as he “called out” Rays fans for not attending games during their playoff run

Now, I’m a Yankee fan.  Before every baseball season I wait for it with as much anticipation as the NFL season (I know many of you don’t), and throughout the season, all the way up until week 1 of the NFL, it is “baseball season.”  100% baseball.  But I do admit guilt:  Whether it be because I am a Yankee (Yankees?) fan and have always been spoiled and have had the last week or two of the season be a player resting routine, or because this season I could not care less if the Yanks played Texas or Minnesota in the first round, I never, EVER, pay much attention from the 145th – 162nd game.

And between the hype of this years’ Jets and the Yankees starting guys like Chad Moeller, this year has been the worst of it all.  Even my fantasy team, sitting its ass in 3rd place since the all-star break in my boring Rotisserie league, is only checked intermittently.

side-note for any fantasy-heads: Sports banter is awesome.  Sports knowledge is even better.  People that can do both are even cooler.  I understand that Rotisserie Fantasy Baseball is the “true” test of baseball knowledge.  It leaves no room for “bullshit weeks” or tough, unlucky matchups, but there is no denying it being an evil lord of boredom.  Head-t0-head fantasy, for any sport, is more exciting, more current, and leaves room for the “bullshit week,” where a Jose Bautista home run (where the hell…?) on Sunday night leaves you thumping the floor, either with your feet or with your fists.

So when Evan Longoria spoke to, well, from his Twitter, Rays fans about sparse attendance, some pre-playoff attention was brought back to baseball.

On Monday Longoria called the Rays attendance “embarrassing” and “disheartening” and seemed, to the fans, to be doing some muckraking.  He casted animadversions throughout his whole rant, only to placate with a “I’m not trying to upset the fans…I’m just saying.”  That doesn’t seem to ever really work, though, Evan, especially when David Price reiterates with more “embarrassing” comments.  I mean, come on, didn’t you read “Clinton, say no more“!?  Learn from Clinton Portis.

Two sides:

On one point, well…Longoria has a point.  When a team averages only 15,000-20,000 fans per game during its division clash with the New York Yankees, baseball’s most hated! evil! capitalistic bastards! team, it’s kind of indefensible.

This doesn't even do it justice, Tropicana Field is ugly

Aside from Tropicana Field being a kitschy dome with a crayon-like playing field, it’s in the middle of St. Petersburg, a city constantly frequented by me and fellow University of Tampa students for its bars and restaurants.  Catching dinner bayside, tailgating, and buying $15 ticket was a regular Friday or Saturday for plenty of students.  Even those people whose only knowledge of the Rays is “Even Longoria is hot!” tagged along.

So maybe now Rays fans are getting a bit spoiled like Yankee fans are?  The Rays have been a contending team for 3 consecutive years, lost to the Phillies in the World Series in 2008, and are currently leading the division.  But probably not.  Maybe the 2-1 Buccaneers are dancing in the spotlight?  But probably not, seriously, nobody can be fooled.  Or maybe nonchalance from outfielders keeps the fans a bit disappointed?  Could be.

Evan, I agree, the Rays, out of anyone, deserves fans.  But you aren’t going to get any by calling them “embarrassing” and “disappointing.”  Have you learned nothing from people like Clinton Portis?  It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  All you did was further the alienation that separates the Rays and St. Pete.  Calumnies and placations aren’t the right way.

long side-note:  On the topic of fan alienation and all that other crap, I’m making a vehement stand for saying “we” rather than “they.”  When the Jets sign Ladainian Tomlinson, the correct summary is “WE just got fuckin’ awesome.”  When Mark Sanchez doesn’t make a pass for more than five yards against the Ravens: “Fuck US, all this Hard Knocks hype and we suck.”  When we beat the Patriots in the next week: “WE’RE awesome, the Super bowl is ours!!!”

Just recently it seems I’ve been on this topic at bars and during conversations a bit more than usual.  The #3 wide receiver on our flag football team, who complains too much about me not throwing him the ball, is as fervent as I am in this stance, but on the other extreme.  He says “they,” defending that we aren’t players and have no impact on the team at all.  “We’re a bunch of money venders playing anti-Robin Hood.”

But my retort: “Without us, the fans, there would be no team.  We do indeed pay the money, but without that money the Jets and no other team exists.”

Except I then realize that, being a Playstation 3 owner, when Sony sells another PS3 I don’t say “We just sold another sucker a device that breaks too much.”  Then I try to change the subject before he uses this argument.

Seriously, though, I’ve mentioned sports, especially football, being about camaraderie (I mentioned this on one post… I promise… I’ll find it… it’s here somewhere…).  So when the Jets beat the Patriots and I can say to a Tom Brady mancrusher “We just owned your ass” (no pun intended) it’s a bit better than saying “The team that I like the most just beat the team that you like the most!!!!!”

end side-note

Hopefully, though, the 20,000 free seats your tangent led to, Bucs’ inevitable downfall, and the start of the playoffs will spur more ticket sales.



p.s. 3-1, anyone?


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