MLB Franchise Notes: Selig Calls Rays Attendance Figures At The Trop "Inexcusable"
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday during his meeting with the Baseball Writers Association of America said the Rays' home attendance at Tropicana Field was "inexcusable" and "disappointing" amid four consecutive winning seasons and another emerging pennant chase this year. The Rays currently rank next to last in MLB attendance, with an average of 20,583 per game. Though the total is up 7%, in line with overall industry trends. "They've run a great operation. They're a very competitive organization," Selig said. "To see that they're No. 29 in attendance, it's inexcusable. Nobody can defend that" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
ADJUSTABLE NUMBER: In Pittsburgh, Bob Cohn noted the Pirates "changed a discount ticket deal" hours after CF Andrew McCutchen’s "disappointing exhibition" at the Home Run Derby. The club on Monday announced that for the July 23-25 series against the Cubs, it would "lower ticket prices in two sections of PNC Park by one dollar for every home run McCutchen hit in the Derby." But after McCutchen "hit only four, the Pirates issued a news release late Monday night revising the plan." The new "'Andrew McCutchen Home Run Derby Discount Ticket Offer' will recognize the 18 homers McCutchen has hit during the season." Pirates Coordinator of Business Communications & Social Media Terry Rodgers said yesterday, "We changed it to give the fans a better value. If he had hit a bunch of homers, we would have gone with the higher total" (TRIBLIVE.com, 7/10).
WRECKING BALL: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, "The Red Sox are a trainwreck." Shaughnessy: "It's about abject underperformance. It’s about the third-highest payroll in baseball and not a single playoff game victory" since '08. It is about a franchise that has "become a parody of itself, led by an ownership group that has lost all sense of accountability." The front office "would rather be selling bricks, watching soccer, blaming [former GM] Theo [Epstein], promoting bad NESN programming, and clinging to the notion that they are still popular and relevant on the local sports landscape." The Red Sox "spent freely and they spent badly and now they are done." Shaughnessy writes, "And watch the lips of the folks from NESN telling you how great everything is going" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/11).
BASEBALL'S BEST FANS? In Houston, Randy Harvey wrote, "I have been following the Astros closely for about two weeks and have seen them win once in 11 games, but I have noticed one very positive characteristic. It has nothing to do with the team on the field. It has to do with the fans not at the park. As I see it, you are baseball's best fans." Harvey: "The Astros should be thanking you, too. In my experience, the best major league franchises are the ones that respond to poor attendance by concentrating more on acquiring better players and winning more games than they do on bobblehead dolls" (CHRON.com, 7/10).