ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — This season, the Tampa Bay Rays took the Major League Baseball world by storm when they started the regular season 13-0, but as they head into the postseason, it appears that appeal hasn’t stuck.
The Rays welcomed the Texas Rangers to Tropicana Field Tuesday afternoon as they kicked off the AL Wild Card Series, but for the hometown team, the stands seemed bare – and according to Stathead, they were.
Only 19,704 people showed up to the Trop – roughly 5,300 below listed capacity, and according to the sports statistics website, that’s the lowest attendance (non-COVID year) for a postseason game in 104 years. The last game below Tuesday’s attendance was Game 7 of the 1919 World Series in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Could the Rays’ attendance be low due to the fact the game was held at 3 p.m. on a weekday? Or were the stands empty simply because traffic makes it difficult to reach the Trop? According to fans, it’s both.
“Hour to get there and a lot of fans are younger. Not a lot of parents are willing to bring their kids out of school for a non-elimination Wild Card game,” one fan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Another user added that there wasn’t notice and the start time was too early.
“2 days notice, 3 p.m. start time = no fans,” they wrote.
Another user pointed out the recent Rays $1.3 billion plan for a new stadium near the current Tropicana Field.
“The obvious solution is to build a new ballpark in the same neighborhood,” the user wrote. “But this one has a moat so it’ll be wildly more successful.”
The Rays fell to the Rangers 4-0 in the Wild Card opener, leaving Wednesday’s game their final chance to advance in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, tomorrow’s game also has a 3:08 p.m. start time, but with the game being an elimination matchup, maybe Tropicana will see a bigger crowd.