Just ask the Expos, whose attendance dropped to 4,000 fans many nights when MLB indicated it was done with the market.
At 18,000+ fans per night, the Rays are a long way from those Montreal lows. And its ownership group has done less complaining about the stadium as it has done in previous years.
But what I wrote five years ago still rings true:
From my vantage point, it seems that the Rays have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.And, in a separate post from 2009, I also predicted the team would "re-affirm its commitment to stay in the area, but it won't be shy about its need for a new park." The post also included:
In continuing to point out problems with the Trop, the Rays (perhaps inadvertently) are building - and reinforcing - the stadium's negative image.
Why else would so many people dislike the Trop but have trouble explaining why? It's like politics. The more the issue is discussed on talk radio and on the evening news, the more people will believe it. Perception is reality.
It will be right about that time a high-ranking team executive (Stuart Sternberg? Matthew Silverman? Stadium Czar Michael Kalt?) will take a trip to Charlotte. Or Portland. Or some other MLB-starved city. A trip like that would normally go under-the-radar, but a well-placed call to someone like Peter Gammons or Rob Neyer will drop the tip that the Rays are exploring other communities.By the way, great minds must think alike, since Gary Shelton wrote last week, "You know how it will work. Stu Sternberg will show up at an exhibition game in Montreal. There is no funny business, he’ll say. He just wanted to see a ballgame. Then a team official will be seen in Charlotte. Or Las Vegas. Or somewhere."
The Rays are continuing down the path they set out on in 2010 when Sternberg gave the region an ultimatum and essentially demanded St. Petersburg amend its contract. He created a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the only real change in the Stadium Saga since then has been in the attendance numbers.