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ESPN article uses old photos to portray Rays attendance

5:57 PM, Jun 23, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA -- It's front and center on what may be the country's biggest website.

On espn.com, a single Rays fan surrounded by empty seats.

The article suggests baseball won't work in Tampa Bay, regardless of where the stadium sits.

But that's not what has Rays fans upset.

To illustrate Tropicana Field's attendance troubles, ESPN reportedly used a photo from a late-season 2004 Devil Rays game, as a hurricane was threatening the Bay area.

A second photo is said to be from a team practice in 2008, on a day no game was scheduled.

"I think that they're choosing the times of their pictures for their benefit," said Rays fan Cindy Brauer.

J.P. Peterson, host of "Happy Hour" weekdays from 3-6 on 1010 Sports Radio, says it's typical bias against the team.

"When you are driving an agenda, you want to use pictures that are going to represent what you are talking about, but clearly it was unfair," he said.

Peterson, as well as many Rays fan, also question how you can claim baseball won't work in Tampa Bay if you don't try it anywhere but Tropicana Field.

"We've got to do it right here in Tampa Bay before we decide that it doesn't work," Peterson said, "we have a stadium that's clearly the worst located in the history of sports."

There are plenty of fans who believe there is enough interest to support baseball in this market.

"We have a huge fan base in this area.  If you look at the TV ratings, you'll see that there's a lot of people paying attention to the Rays," said Rays fan John Dyhrberg.

We reached out to ESPN for comment on why those particular photos were used, but had not received a response as of 5 p.m.

The pictures have since been taken down from the website.

To read the entire article, click here.

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