Blog Entry

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

Posted on: October 4, 2011 10:59 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 11:02 pm
By Matt Snyder

Along with the NL wild card Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Rays were the Cinderella story of September with a dramatic run netting them the AL wild card. Tuesday, the story ended with an ALDS loss to the Rangers, three games to one. Still, this was a season for the Rays to be proud of, at least on the field. They fought through significant offseason losses and an 0-6 start to make the playoffs.

Off the field is another matter, though. Principle owner Stuart Sternberg once again reminded everyone how dire the Rays' financial situation is after the loss.

"I am frustrated this year," Sternberg said ( "We've replicated last year [on the field] and our attendance numbers were down 15 percent and our ratings were down. The rubber has got to meet the road at some point here. When you go through the season, you control your own destiny, if you win out. We're getting to the point where we don't control our own destiny. This is untenable as a model going forward."

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Sternberg noted that when he took over, he was told that if they won, everything would fall into place. Well, the Rays have been to the playoffs three of the past four seasons, including the World Series once. And the ratings and attendance just aren't getting to a point that the Rays can make money and pump more money into the on-field product.

"I don't have all the answers to it, but we've answered any questions stadium related, market related, economy related, area related, sport related," Sternberg said ( "Whatever you want to say, there are 29 other teams passing us like we're going in reverse right now. Except on the field. And at some point that changes. … To a team, winning solves ills. And we are four years into winning and we're no better off right now."

Now, this is about the time where someone chimes in that the Rays haven't won the World Series. True, but 29 teams fail to win the World Series every single season and the overwhelming majority of those teams make money. Even bad teams make money in some markets. The Rays are one of the most well-run organizations in the majors and they still aren't getting enough revenue.

Even if one of the main problems is Tropicana Field and the location, that doesn't explain their TV ratings issues. While Sternberg didn't explicitly say it, moving to a new city at some point has to be on his mind -- even if it's just in the back of his mind right now.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:55 am

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 7:57 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:22 am

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 10:29 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

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Since: Jun 5, 2007
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:57 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

having lived in that area for 20 years, at its core people in leadership positions hate city people, and
want to keep the area as country as possible. Therefore, there is no attidute of capitalism or entreprenuership as a whole.
Weird because they are all republican, but I guess the republican types who are against economic progress. In the area there
has been no investment in education on the high school level so forth. Just a bad area to live in if you are middle class or lower middle class, especially considering the pay rate, and increase in insurance rates, and taxes.

Since: Sep 4, 2011
Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:15 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

Let me give you a clue, my friend.  This problem with the Rays not receiving support in that area is not something that has transpired in the past few years due to the economic downturn.  This has been standard operating procedure for the Rays since the area was awarded the franchise.
And on this point. Are you going to tell yourself that the new ownership group lead by Sternberg and the old DRays lead by Vincent Namoli are the same thing? Vincent Namoli was a scrooge that harassed his customers. He was notorious for having secret agent like operations to patrol for outside food, made a high school band that was playing the National Anthem pay for their tickets to get in (they ended up not playing at all), banned sports writers and broadcasters if they didn't pay for concessions. There are even stories of him sitting in the crowd to heckle fans that weren't buying food, drinks, etc. He absolutely drove the organization into the ground with his complete lack of business sense and turned many people away.

New ownership is fan friendly, has tried to beautify the Trop, puts a great product on the field. But they've had to compete witht the worst economic crisis since the great depression. If Sternberg's group owned the team from the start, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But Namoli was so bad, that it's the new Rays job to clean up the old image, compete in one of the (if not the most) unfair sports in a stacked division, facing a difficult financial climate.

Are you really going to say that this all means nothing. Are you going to generalize, with little knowledge of a much larger situation, and condescend, and say this is such a simple issue. My mistake for presenting some reasoning for why the situation is how it is in Tampa. Too bad we can't all be New York and Philly and Chicago. Guess I'm the idiot for not being able to comprehend such a simple fact. That you for teaching me a lesson.

Since: Sep 4, 2011
Posted on: October 6, 2011 4:56 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

I want you to write so I can debate with you like an educated person. I don't want you to condescend to me though. Is that "simple" enough for you to understand?

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:07 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

Also to say a State or region does not deserve a baseball team is ridiculous. Lets look at the facts of all Sports. MLB is second to football in fanbase. The NBA has issues with BAD CONTRACTS and a corrupt league of referees. The NBA fanbase competes with the Hockey fanbase. The top 4 NBA teams fan attendance is about the same as MLBs last 4 teams in fan attendance. NFL owners are not rich. MLB Owners are rich. NFL Owners are WEALTHY. There is a big difference between the two. The NFL has a salary cap. They have a system that allows them to cut players who have big contracts without having to answer to the PA. They have tougher drug testing and better penalities.

Baseball is a great sport, but if every team can not compete it takes away from the value of the game and away from the fan's experience. Baseball was ruined historically by the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. It is the only professional sport marked with scandals through every decade. They operate worse than the NCAA System. The PA bullies major league teams who retaliate against the players and the league officials allow it to continue. It is a rotating door of turning heads. When it is at the point where can say Florida does not deserve a team or that the farm life people in North Dakota, Idaho, and Nebraska is not good enough for a major league baseball franchise to survive when you have a team like the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA that survives quite well, then the sport has a broken system.

The system is broken top to bottom.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:53 pm

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

The Rays owner needs to take a page out of the Marlins history. The Florida Marlins were top 10 in attendance through 1997. Then they did a firesale and alienated their fans. The Rays did the same thing the past two years except they lost their guys through free agency. If you don't have players people love they aren't going to come back. You keep rotating the door eventually you will lose customers and clients.

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:34 am

Rays owner still frustrated with situation

And to add to that, it seems from a certain standpoint that the owner is not frustrated by dollars, but the fact that he really wants to be competitive.  He doesn't just want to be the Pittsburgh Pirates, keep the team in the black, collect revenue, and not worry about what place in the standings or hardware his team collects.  Sounds like he's frustrated because they are competing with the Yankees and Red Sox with a fraction of the spending, and he just wants some more flexibility when it comes time to pay guys. 

We hear what you're saying Cohen, but here's a free college lesson for you:  baseball is cyclical for small market teams.  Look at the Indians.  They get their window 1993-1997, 2007, and then it closes for a decade or more.  By the time the fans are "economically ready", as you say, they probably won't be able to have afforded to resign guys like Price, Longoria, etc.  Those guys will be wearing pin stripes or red sox in a couple years. 

Maybe you can stay in Florida, but to say the owner can't be frustrated by staying in place is a ridiculous argument. 

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