Selig Calls Rays' Attendance "Worrisome," Citing Issues With Tropicana Field
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig again expressed grave disappointment yesterday with the Rays' attendance problems. Meeting with the Baseball Writers Association of America, Selig called the Rays' issues "very disappointing, very worrisome." Selig: "It's beyond disappointing. It's economically not tolerable." The Rays, seeking their sixth straight winning season, rank next-to-last in attendance in the league with an average of 17,791 per game. Selig: "Getting 18,000 a game might have been OK in 1956. It's not OK today." Selig has been in regular dialogue with Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg, but with the club locked into a long-term lease for outdated Tropicana Field, an answer is not immediately apparent (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). Selig said, "There's no question there's a stadium problem. There's no debate about it. The question is what to do about it and when to do it and where, and those are conversations Mr. Sternberg and I will have.” In Tampa, Marc Topkin noted Selig “made it sound as if those talks with Sternberg will become more urgent.” Selig: "I have a very high level of frustration. I think my patience is running as thin as his, if not more so. I don't know what will happen with that; he and I need to have a lot more conversations." Selig added that he "would discuss with Sternberg the possibility of a visit to talk with Tampa Bay area officials." Sternberg has "had talks with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and said he hopes the issue heats up after the season" (TAMPABAY.com, 7/16).