If the Rays get a new ballpark before 2027, location will be the key no matter on which side of the bay it’s built. And as trends for new stadiums have shown, attendance doesn’t improve dramatically after the new-car-smell effect wears off, usually in the second year.
The first thing the new commish should tackle is increasing the pace of games. The average nine-inning game now takes 3:08, up from 2:48 in 2004 and 2:25 in 1963. Young people today, many of whom are used to speed and have short attention spans, aren’t going to sit through many three-hour contests. And it wouldn’t hurt to start World Series games a little earlier so kids in the Eastern time zone can watch on a school night.
As for the Rays ballpark issue, we’ll handle that locally — unless the MLB wants to provide the funds for a new one and compensate the city of St. Petersburg for the “ironclad stadium lease” it has with the team.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Column: Stadiums Not the Best Way to Fix Baseball
Trib guest columnist Joe Brown, who has contributed some terrific perspective on the Rays' Stadium Saga in the past, penned an op-ed this weekend that advocated MLB first speed up the pace of play, rather than worry about building new stadiums: