Mitch Perry Report 7.9.13: Rays' crummy attendance is still an issue

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Michael Sasso has a piece on the front page of today's Tampa Tribune that looks at an uncomfortable reality that until last week nobody was really talking about: the Tampa Bay Rays' paltry home attendance this year.

Folks, just because it's an old story doesn't mean it's not a story. Yes, attendance is down throughout Major League Baseball (just like runs are down and strikeouts are up, hardly things to turn on casual fans with only so much discretionary income). But the fact of the matter is, if it weren't for the woes of the Miami Marlins, the Rays would have the worst home-attendance in all of MLB in 2013.

Sasso's piece goes into the various reasons why people aren't going to the games, but really, when do we get to the point where we say that there's just not a large group of folks willing to pay the prices required to go to the games in this area? Maybe if a new stadium is built in Tampa that changes, maybe not. Who knows? I've heard all the explanations.

I've always been sympathetic to the Rays' attendance problems. In the 1970s, the SF Giants and Oakland A's drew horribly, both at one time getting less than 1,000 people a game. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox also were not nearly as hot a ticket as they are now, but then again, pure greed has ruined a lot of the Yankees experience, unless you somehow miss those empty seats behind the dugout while watching games from the new Yankee Stadium. So a lot of towns have struggled with attracting fans to baseball games.

All I know is, if you don't think having the second worst attendance while having a winning team still isn't a problem, then I think you're mistaken.

Meanwhile the folks concerned about bringing more visitors and prestige to the Bay area are totally psyched that they're bringing the Bollywood Oscars to Tampa.

Who knows when (or if?) Charlie Crist will announce that he's running for governor, but the Republican Party of Florida is having a good time bashing him nevertheless. Also the RNC and RPOF jointly announced a new team for the 2014 election here in Florida. They look serious. The Dems? Not so much.

With furloughs hitting our National Guard here in Florida, Rick Scott used the opportunity to call on President Obama to manipulate the budget to discontinue that as hurricane season gets more intense.

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