For What It's Wirth: Are we a Big League Baseball Market?

6:20 PM, Aug 6, 2013   |    comments
An aerial view of Tropicana Field
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Tampa Bay, Florida -- And a couple of thoughts about St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster. He's finally opening the door to allowing the Rays to look around Hillsborough County, for a new home.

It's the smart move, Mayor. But he also said something, you don't often hear someone say, out loud.

"There's a big question mark as to whether Tampa Bay is a Major League region."

For what it's Wirth -- it's something none of us wants to admit -- I'm as guilty as anyone. We all thought back in the 90's that baseball would be a huge success here.

Well, it's been 16 years, and attendance is still terrible. We've got one of the best teams in baseball. And 30,000+ crowds -- like this weekend -- are the exception, not the rule.

Sure, blame all the usual suspects: bad location, bad stadium, bad economy, not enough corporate support. But the ugly truth could be we just don't have enough real baseball fans in the Tampa Bay area. Real fans who will pay to see the Rays play, no matter where they're playing.

And even with a new stadium in Tampa, there's no guarantee the team will draw there.

We may have to face facts.

This area is great for six weeks of spring training, but six months of baseball? In the summer?

Sorry, I just haven't seen it -- yet.

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