Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sternberg's Comments Resonate Nationally

It's the same ole', same ole' situation. Stu Sternberg, frustrated with Rays attendance numbers, mentions the Tampa Bay region doesn't have long to figure the situation out and the national writers jump all over it.

Although, there was a bit more sympathy than usual for the fans, especially from's Jim Caple, who wrote fans aren't expected to buy a ton of tickets; merely support their team better (which, of course isn't easy when the owner gets so frustrated with them).

Maury Brown from The Biz of Baseball explains why the Rays aren't going anywhere soon, which is unfortunate for the owners because they deserve better.

Of course, local writers continued to feast on the age-old debate. The most poignant point of view came from The Trib's Joe Henderson, who said "Timing is everything, and Rays owner Stu Sternberg's couldn't have been worse.

"Maybe there was no easy way to deliver the message, again, that Sternberg is fed up with low attendance and sagging revenues," Henderson continued. "But did he have to do so while standing in the middle of the Rays clubhouse, minutes after they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Texas Rangers, concluding one of the great baseball stories in the modern era?"

The Times' John Romano, who has sympathized with the franchise before, writes now that "fans have to stop behaving as if Sternberg is standing in their driveway calling them deadbeats. He is not blaming teachers or truck drivers or retirees. He is saying his team does not generate enough revenue to keep up with 90 percent of the other major-league teams. And that's a legitimate complaint."

Personally, I disagree - it's not a legitimate complaint until the Rays show it's true. But since they won't open their books, how do we know baseball's revenue-sharing model, designed to help less-wealthy teams compete with wealthy teams isn't working?

Romano also writes that the Rays' model isn't sustainable long-term, but it ignores the huge windfall the team stands to gain in 2016 (or sooner) when it signs a new TV deal.

Then, there's the often-outlandish Bleacher Report, which actually laid out the region's problems quite well and one possible solution: let Bud Selig force the Tampa Bay's hand.

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