In six short grafs, Cafardo sums up the Stadium Saga perfectly:The bottom line appears to be all that is stopping the Rays. By now, it should be apparent that baseball and Florida do not go well together. There’s a reason the two Florida teams have the two worst attendances in baseball.
The Marlins, who are a mess in a lot of ways, will move to a brand new home next April, with all kinds of bells and whistles. But you still wonder whether it will matter to their attendance. Obviously, there will be an initial rush to see the new place, but after that, what?
The Rays simply can’t get a stadium built. It’s baffling why people in the Tampa/St. Pete area make such a big deal about driving over the bridge to St. Pete. It really isn’t that bad, is it?
How much more can Rays owner Stuart Sternberg stretch that payroll? Sure, attendance is low, but the money from revenue-sharing and TV is pretty decent. Could their $45 million budget be
stretched to $55 million to get a big-time hitter, even if (OMG!) it means less of a profit?
Only their accountants know for sure.
The Rays do a lot of things right. They are swiftly becoming a model franchise, causing New York and Boston a little discomfort. The payroll disparity is huge, yet they always seem to be in the mix.
- MLB and Stu Sternberg underestimated Floridians' desires to drive to baseball games;
- The Rays are making decent money from revenue-sharing and TV,
- But we'll never know how much profit they're making because they don't open their books;
- Despite all that, ownership continues to defy the odds and put a winner on the field.