With the playoffs within reach, needing to simply win and get into the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Rays fans once again found a way to embarass themselves.
It's one thing not to draw fans in mid-July when the Royals are in town. Even fans in markets like Boston, New York, Chicago and St. Louis can admit that. But for the Rays to draw just over 12,000 fans Monday night with a chance to clinch is unbelievable.
With the Orioles in town and with the Rays one game from the playoffs, Tampa Bay drew their fourth-lowest crowd of the season. Fourth-lowest.
And while it may sound like sour grapes or typical large-market piling on, the numbers simply do not lie. To only draw 12,000 fans on any night is borderline pathetic, but to do so on the night your team has a chance to clinch a playoff spot? That's downright insulting to the same team you allegedly claim allegiance to.
And that's what it comes down to, really. It's not so much about driving up attendance numbers and taking pride in how many sellouts you have in a row. But it's about appreciating the effort that your team puts in on a daily basis. And judging by the way the players reacted on Monday night, it sounds like they'd like some appreciation.
"It's disheartening," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said after the game. "It's something I've been wanting to say for a long time. It's not a jab at the fans. It's not a kick below the belts, but it's something we'd like to see. Obviously we want to bring a championship to Tampa. We'd like more than 12,000 to 15,000 to know about it."
And while Longoria wasn't ready necessarily go after the fans, pitcher David Price was a little less kind.
"Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands….embarrassing," Price tweeted following the game.
It is embarrassing. It will be even more embarrassing when 40,000 fans show up during the playoffs ringing those cowbells pretending they were there to support the team all season.
"It's something we've got to do ourselves," pitcher Wade Davis said after the game, talking about the Orioles' refusal to roll over and let the Rays clinch.
The Orioles certainly won't help the Rays make the playoffs. And judging by Monday's attendance, neither will Rays fans.
Is there any excuse for these low attendance numbers? Do Rays fans deserve the success their team continues to achieve? Share your thoughts below.