Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rays-to-Orlando Chatter Fired Back Up

Major League Baseball and the players' union doesn't always see eye-to-eye, but when it comes to getting the Rays out of the Trop, they're on the same page.  According to the Times' Marc Topkin:
"I think everybody is curious what would happen or could happen if you had a stadium that was on the other side of Tampa that is accessible to Orlando residents as well as Tampa residents," (MLBPA chief Michael) Weiner said. "I guess the bet was that going south would expand the market. It hasn't really worked as expected."
Weiner went on to share this blog's view of contraction (not on the table at all) and said he wished the Rays drew more fans (b/c more revenue for the league is good for the players!)

But what was Weiner trying to suggest?  Not a stadium in Orlando, which would be a bad, bad idea.  Obviously not stadium in Lakeland, halfway between Tampa and Orlando.  So he meant near Tampa's Fairgrounds, where Orange County fans would still have to drive 60+ minutes to get to the game.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told me recently the Fairgrouds/I-4 area is a non-starter and a new stadium would have to be downtown.  Especially since all the Rays talk about is how important a 30-minute commute is to attendance.  Is hard to imagine slightly better proximity to Orlando - in a state without high-speed rail or modern transit - would help the Rays that much.


  1. Well, like they say "numbers don't lie!", it would SAVE Orlando's residents from driving an extra 44 miles, yes 44 miles, going to Channleside opposed to the Trop to see the Rays...

  2. Clever, Beazy, using round-trip numbers!

    Downtown Orlando to Tampa is 84.5mi. Downtown Orlando to St. Pete is 106.5mi.

    Not sure that will mean a huge flow of Orlando Rays fans making the trek down I-4 during rush hour.

    If we're making the argument fans hate driving the Howard Frankland Bridge at rush hour, it goes exponentially for I-4.

  3. ("Negative Noah" at it again (lol)), of course you would use "round trip" numbers, we don't drive a Rays game, and stay forever. And, good move trying to use the "rush hour" approach. Com'on man, you know "rush hour" is between 4-6, the game doesn't start til' @ 7:10, plus during "rush hour" everyone is going East on i4, fans would be going West, UNLIKE the HF bridge where everyone is going the same direction. Plus, I don't know how much "research" you have done on the future of Florida's population (I'm going to guess none), but i4 between Orlando and Tampa is the future, more pop., more fans... Let's try another angle of "how new stadiums sucks". Are you sure your not a Red Sox or Yankee fan???

  4. Beazy, I'm probably not as negative as you'd like to believe! I'm actually bullish on baseball at The Trop and believe Tampa Bay fans can do better than they currently are. I grew up in a place where fans would drive 90-120 minutes for games. I wish there were more positive fans who love baseball and would drive to the Trop from Tampa.

    And I drive the Tampa Bay bridges every night between 6pm and 7pm, and I can tell you it's MUCH worse on nights when the Lightning play...even though they're only drawing an extra few thousand cars a night over the bridges.

    As for research on the future of Florida's population, the numbers I quote on 30- and 60-minute drives are based on 2035 estimates.

    1. Gas also costs an arm an a leg now days, unemployement rates aren't too great, and part time college students such as myself can't afford to drive an hour and a half to two hours and then the same time/distance back to catch every single Rays game. I'm still a firm believer that the team would draw more fans if they moved to the Orlando area. There's a reason fans from other towns aren't visiting the St. Pete area for games.