Why Evan Longoria, Ex-Rays Star, Believes Team Should Leave Tampa Bay

by NESN Staff

May 11, 2018

Tampa Bay apparently didn’t leave the best impression on the greatest player in Rays history.

In an interview Thursday with the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Tompkin, San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said it may be in his former team’s best interest to relocate out of Tampa Bay.

“Honestly, and this is maybe not something I should say, but my gut tells me that the best decision might be to move the team,” Evan Longoria said Thursday. “I say that only because I look at the example of the Miami Marlins, and (a new stadium) didn’t really solve their attendance issues. So from purely an attendance standpoint, somewhere else might be better.”

Longoria would know as well as anyone about the Rays’ attendance struggles. His 10 seasons in Tampa Bay included some legitimate success, including a World Series appearance during his rookie year in 2008, but Tropicana Field consistently ranked near the bottom (or at the bottom) of Major League Baseball in attendance.

“It pains me to say that, but players want to play in a place where you have consistent support,” Longoria added. “It’s a selfish thing to say probably as a player, but, I don’t know, does anyone really want to play in front of 10,000 a night? I don’t know.”

Rays fans likely won’t appreciate Longoria chiming in from afar, but in a lot of ways, he’s right. The Rays never have been a big draw at the Trop, which is inconveniently located in St. Petersburg and separated by water from the larger metropolitan area of Tampa.

Longoria seems to believe the Rays should move out of the region entirely, but at the very least, he hopes the Rays move to Tampa, ideally near the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium.

“That would be the best thing, I think,” Longoria said, “just to make it in an easily accessible place where you know 30,000-40,000 people can get in and out easily because they do it for 80,000 at Raymond James already.”

Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images
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