Longoria and Price call low attendance at Rays’ game “embarrassing”

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria walks back to the dugout after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 6, 2010.  REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Following the Rays’ 4-0 loss to the Orioles on Monday night, third baseman Evan Longoria and David Price said it was embarrassing that Tampa could have clinched a playoff spot and only 12,446 fans (the fourth-smallest crowd of the season at Tropicana Field) would have seen it.

Longoria’s take, Via the St. Petersburg Times:

“We go out there and play hard for 162 games,” Longoria said, “and for the fans to show the kind of support they’re showing right now, you kind of wonder what else you have to do as a player.”

Price said:

“Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands….embarrassing”

David Brown of Yahoo! Sports had the best take on this situation that I’ve read so far:

Jeez, what is it with Tampa Bay athletes who live in glass houses?

No matter their good intentions, no matter their honesty, no matter if they have reason to be upset — even if they were 1000 percent correct — what Longoria (pictured right) and Price did was a mistake.

It’s a cardinal rule: You don’t criticize your fan base. It’s stupid. It’s ignorant. It won’t get you what you want. It makes you look entitled, spoiled, narrow-minded and short-sighted.

The timing was poor, too, after losing 4-0 to the Baltimore Orioles. No matter how well you’re doing — and the Rays are having a great season — nobody wants to hear how bad the attendance was on a night when your team is shut out. It’s an obvious lack of perspective.

Longoria later said he was “just trying to rally the troops and get more people in here,” which I believe.
Price already backtracked, saying, “If I offended anyone I apologize” — which is the classic non-apology apology. He’s probably sorry, though, for one reason or another.

There are many reasons the Rays lag at 22nd overall in attendance. Start with: Bad stadium, bad location of stadium, bad economy. There’s more. It’s all irrelevant to Longoria and Price criticizing the fans.

It’s just bad policy, scolding people for not paying their own money to watch you.

Sorry for the long blockquote, but Brown made so many good points that I couldn’t cut it down. He hit a home run with his comments and I couldn’t agree more with everything he said.

Tampa fans should pack the stadium on a night where the Rays could clinch a playoff spot, but Brown is right when he says there’s nothing to be gained by criticizing your fanbase. It’s in poor taste and imagine how the people feel who did go to the game last night. They spent upwards of $100 to attend a game that the Rays didn’t even show up for and now they have to listen to two of the star players bitch about low attendance.


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