It has been a bad two days for Tropicana Field on the public relations front as ESPN announcers and anchors have chided low attendance there, amid a political fight between the team and the City of St. Petersburg over a new stadium.
The Rays went into Sunday tied for first place with the New York Yankees and their play earned them a prime-time Sunday game of the week on ESPN against the Boston Red Sox. But the game was short of a sellout by 13,000 tickets.
“It’s hard to understand,” said Hall of Fame ESPN broadcaster Jon Miller of the empty seats during the telecast.
Things got worse during Tuesday’s SportsCenter, when, during a segue into highlights on the Rays game against the Toronto Blue Jays, a game that again spotlighted the Rays’ woeful attendance.
“Rays hosting the Blue Jays,” said anchor Stan Verrett. “Apparently, it was a secret in St. Petersburg because less than 12,000 people showed up at Tropicana Field.”
“C’mon!” chided co-anchor Neil Everett.
Verrett went on to reference Rays star Carl Crawford’s thoughts on the crowd after a 6-2 Rays win. He is a free agent next year amid indications Rays officials plan to cut payroll.
“Carl Crawford called it depressing after the game,” Verrett said.