Sep 5, 2011

You're not representing yourself very well, St. Pete!

by Aaron Giddens

St. Pete Pier
Courtesy: Flickr
I still see St. Pete residents not wanting to pay the money to build the Rays a new stadium. This is understandable but what does this solve? Nothing. This still leaves the region in danger of losing a regional asset. Which, on accident or not, Mayor Foster referred to the Rays as a couple of weeks ago.

The most common thing I see from Rays fans in St. Pete are that they, the team and front office, make enough money that they should be able to pay for a stadium their selves. Which, in this economy, is not a bad thing, but it's not necessarily a good thing either and here's why:

A lot of people have referred to the team as what I did earlier, a regional asset. This regional asset, when working right, brings out of town visitors, business for the small businesses, business for the larger area businesses, in short it brings revenue from the visiting fans. How can you expect to recieve this additional revenue and not want to give back to the team? They bring you business but when they need you, the response is essentially "PAY FOR IT YOUR OWN DANG SELF!!"

I've also heard that major leaguers are nothing but spoiled rich kids. Most are, you're right, but how can you call yourself a fan then immediately turn on them when they ask for something from you.

Quite frankly it's nauseating the way St. Pete treats the Rays. Holding them hostage without providing options. This leads to teams leaving for greener grass elsewhere. In my opinion, St. Pete residents come off as the spoiled brats, more than the Rays. You guys are the home to one of the best teams in baseball but the Stadium sits two thirds empty on most nights and you tell them to pay for their own stadium. Is this how you repay the team that brought you an American League Championship and almost a World Championship just a few years ago?

What kind of message does this send about your area? "We'd love to have you 'til you ask for something in return then we'd rather you pay for it yourself or just go away."

I very much get the situation the area is in when it comes to money. In fact, I myself am feeling the harsh effects of this economy. But this is your team, you fought for them, you're fighting to keep them, you cheer them on a nightly basis. But yet you are not willing to take a cent of raised taxes to help them. Again I know they're rich and could probably pay for it themselves and just because you take a rise in taxes doesn't mean you should pay for it all. I very well think the team and the community should team up to pay for this new stadium, where ever it is built. You cannot expect to reap the benefits of this team without putting money in to it can you? CAN YOU?!

Look my point is simple, if you expect to reap the benefits of having a major league franchise, you best be willing to put money in to it. I defend the Rays being here day in and day out, but crap like this makes it hard to justify it. So again, the solution is simple.

If you want to keep the team you fought so hard to get and reap the benefits of it, you best be willing to put money INTO the team. And I don't just mean ticket sales. Though that would be a very good start.

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