Ouch: MLB commissioner takes shot at Rays attendance - FOX 13 News

Ouch: MLB commissioner takes shot at Rays attendance

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

It was the comment seemingly out of nowhere made at a game that had nothing to do with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A direct dig at the Trop was spoken by ESPN commentators at the Home Run Derby.

"Can you imagine if we had the Home Run Derby at the Trop?  They'd have to have referees out there to figure out which catwalk it hit," was said after a ball flew in to the crowd.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Bud Selig joined in on the jabs.

"The Rays have run a great operation; they've had very competitive teams.  To see they are number 29 in attendance is inexcusable.  Nobody can defend that," he said.

Not even St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster defends that.

"I'm equally disappointed with the attendance, so for once the commissioner and I agree," Foster said.

He doesn't agree the region is responsible for low turn out.

"Nowhere in our agreement with the Rays has the city accepted responsibility for attendance," he said. "Per our agreement that runs through 2027 we build the house.  We pay for the house, and you play baseball."

Ryan Neubauer of Build It Downtown Tampa believes the comments are yet another reason to move the Rays out of St. Pete and into Hillsborough County.

"We believe we are at a point now where the league and the team need to get beyond just talking about it and get more aggressive with the situation," he said.

When we asked Rays fans about the criticisms, the fans that actually do come to the Trop and buy tickets were quick to defend, and they gave their reasons.

"I personally love the Trop.  Everyone that talks smack about us having a dome stadium obviously doesn't live here because throughout the season just like today it rains, a storm will pop up out of nowhere, and it's not realistic not to have a dome stadium," said Eric Neunerier.

'I don't think the commissioner should speak against any team or any group of fans.  He should be positive about the entire baseball attendance whether there are five people watching or 5,000," said Ramona Bethke.

Attendance is actually up about 7 percent at the Trop this year, but the Rays consistently rank near the bottom of the list when compared to other teams.

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