MLB Franchise Notes: Rays' Attendance Woes Continue Despite Wild Card Race
In St. Petersburg, Michael Van Sickler writes even if the Rays "sell out Tropicana Field today and all of the club's games in the playoffs -- if they get there -- it will be hard to forget how few fans attended Monday night's game that tied the race" for the AL Wild Card. The 18,772 fans who attended Monday's game against the Yankees "didn't come close to filling the stadium's 34,078 capacity." Van Sickler: "One of the biggest games in franchise history, and the Trop was barely half-filled." St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said, "Short of the economy, I'm out of excuses. There's a huge sense of urgency, and we have to figure it out." The Rays are "drawing an average of 4,064 fewer fans to games than they did last season, placing them 29th out of 30" MLB teams (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/28).
TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM: One day after manager Ozzie Guillen was released from his contract, White Sox GM Kenny Williams said that he "has tried to give up his general manager chair multiple times." Williams said that he "would take another role in the organization if it would help turn around the club's fortunes." Williams: "I offered it because, listen, I'm a big believer in self-analysis and self-assessment. ... If I'm the cog in the machine that is tripping us up, and my decisions are such not that they don't warrant, or my style doesn't warrant more opportunities to get that done, that's fine. I've been sitting in this chair for a long time anyway" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 9/27).
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS? Yankees COO Lonn Trost yesterday said that the team "offered the Mets $250,000 last week in exchange for permission to temporarily relocate one of their minor-league teams to Newark." Trost said that negotiations "broke down after the Mets demanded the right to permanently relocate one of their minor-league affiliates to either Long Island or Connecticut." The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Brian Costa notes the Yankees "were looking to move their Triple-A team to Newark's Riverfront Stadium for one year while their home ballpark in Moosic, Pa., is being renovated." But under MLB rules, the Mets and Yankees "share territorial rights to the region." A Yankees source indicated that the team is "now considering splitting its Triple-A home games between several sites in upstate New York in 2012" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/28). Yankees GM Brian Cashman yesterday said, "The Mets blocked us to go to Newark, N.J. That's where it begins and ends on that one. I didn't talk to them. We'll find somewhere soon to play Triple-A" (N.Y. POST, 9/28).
FULL HOUSE: An ARIZONA REPUBLIC editorial is written under the header, “Diamondbacks Earn Their Roaring Crowd.” The editorial: "When the 2011 season began and players started noticing the thin crowds in attendance, [D’Backs Manager Kirk] Gibson told them that it was their job to build back the fan base, not the other way around. He told them they would have to earn fan love the hard way. ... Just win. And just keep winning. And, eventually, the fans will come back, he said. And they did” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/27).