Tampa Bay Rays didn’t get fan support they deserve

As the popular song goes, “we’ll root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame.”

But is it really?  

The Tampa Bay Rays baseball team is officially in the offseason after losing to the Red Sox on Tuesday night, but fans should be anything but disappointed.

For true fans, the biggest disappointment should be the wait until March 2014 for the start of next season. Yet, despite the 92 wins this season, it seems the Rays never got the fan support they deserved.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Rays had the second-worst home attendance in the MLB this season. Without a decent crowd, the Rays have no reason to perform.

But performance isn’t the problem.

According to ESPN, the Yankees had a $203.5 million team salary in 2013, while the Rays were third from the lowest paid team in the MLB with a $57.5 million team salary. Still, with Rays’ manager Joe Maddon as a
statistical mastermind, the Rays knocked the highly acclaimed Yankees out of a post-season spot by finishing their regular season with 92 wins and 71 losses, compared to the Yankees’ 85 wins and 77 losses.   

Currently, the Rays organization is in a tough position for choosing next year’s team. According to the Rays website, the organization must decide which club players, such as second baseman Ben Zobrist and outfielder David DeJesus, are worth the million-dollar contracts and which free agents, such as pitcher Fernando Rodney and catcher Jose Molina, are worth paying for.

Unfortunately, with limited funds come limited options.  

Imagine what the Rays could do with more money to attain the best players combined with Maddon’s ability to strategically create one of the best baseball teams.

The money to keep the best players won’t come from anywhere except from fan support inside Tropicana Field, which lagged during the 2013 attendance of 18,645, according to ESPN – less than half of the Yankee’s average attendance of 40,488.   

Those living in Tampa Bay should be proud of their baseball team. Even Maddon, in his media conference Tuesday, said he is aware the team is young compared to some of the more well-known teams, but the traditions are being built and he is proud of the moments they have achieved in the post-season.

Sure, baseball fans tend to favor the teams that go to the World Series, but a winning season and surviving three intense rounds of elimination from the playoffs until their final loss made for a pretty exciting season – a
season that should make Bay area citizens proud and want to show
their support.