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Saturday July 3, 2010 5:41 am

Rays not doing so well off the field




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: MLB, Rumors,

Stu SternbergThe Tampa Bay Rays may be at risk of changing their name again, but this time it might not be as simple as dropping a word. Rays owner Stu Sternberg has announced that he’s considering selling the franchise, and he’s not sure that any local buyers would be interested. He also more than implied that a potential buyer may do so with the intention of moving the team. Baseball’s greatest Cinderella-team of the last few years is now facing its latest challenge, and it may be one that it can’t win.

Just over a week ago Sternberg made his announcement and it has stirred up a boatload of controversy around baseball. It’s no secret that he’s disappointed in attendance numbers at the Rays’ home Tropicana Field and Sternberg thinks that a new stadium would go a long way towards boosting those numbers. However, the team has had their highest attendance totals in the last two seasons since their debut in 1998, but even a World Series run in 2008 couldn’t help pack the seats enough to reach the American League average.

While Tropicana Field has done little to help develop the area around the stadium, the downtown waterfront area just down the road has grown significantly, but not to the point where fans are being drawn to the ballpark. Plans for a new stadium dubbed “Rays Ballpark” were tossed in mid-2009 due to lack of public support and overwhelming opposition. The franchise is still looking into an alternate site for a new stadium, but little has developed on that front.

Sternberg was named fifth-best owner in baseball by Sports Illustrated last year, which suggest he knows a thing or two about his job, and if he thinks that a new stadium may help get the Rays to where they should be, considering the team that takes the field every day, he may be on to something. They say there’s an exception to every rule, and the rule states that “winning solves everything.” The Rays proved that exception in 2008, so the next best move seems to be a new stadium, but that may not come near soon enough.

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