Title: Tampa Bay Rays’ Game 1 of AL Wild Card Series Draws Historically Low Attendance
The Tampa Bay Rays faced a disappointing turnout at Tropicana Field, with only 19,704 fans in attendance for Game 1 of the American League Wild Card Series against the Texas Rangers. This article explores the significance of this low attendance, compares it to other games, discusses the ongoing crowd struggles faced by the Rays, and provides insights into the historical context of low attendance in baseball.
The Historical Significance of Low Attendance
The meager attendance of 19,704 fans at Tropicana Field for Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series is notable due to its rarity. The last time a postseason game drew such a small crowd (excluding COVID-impacted years) was during Game 7 of the 1919 World Series. This infamous series involved the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds and is remembered for the betting scandal that resulted in the lifetime bans of eight White Sox players. The attendance during that game was only 13,923.
Game Recap: Rays vs. Rangers
Despite the low turnout, the Rays’ performance on the field did not live up to expectations. Playing sloppily in their sixth consecutive postseason loss, the Rays recorded four errors and managed just one extra-base hit against Texas lefty Jordan Montgomery. Rays’ starter Tyler Glasnow struggled, walking five batters and allowing a run-scoring wild pitch. The final score was 4-0 in favor of the Rangers.
Implications for Game 2 and the Rays’ Season
Game 2 of the series is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET. With another loss, the Rays’ season will come to an end before reaching the divisional round for the second consecutive year. The team faces a crucial challenge in turning their performance around and avoiding an early playoff exit.
Comparing Tuesday’s Attendance to Regular Season Games
While the attendance for Game 1 was low, it was still higher than many regular-season games for the Rays. Throughout the season, the Rays averaged 17,781 fans per game, marking their highest average attendance (excluding COVID-affected seasons) since 2014. Despite this improvement, the Rays ranked 27th among all MLB teams in attendance this year, surpassing only the Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and Oakland A’s.
The Ongoing Crowd Struggles of the Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have consistently faced challenges in attracting fans to Tropicana Field, their home ballpark. The stadium’s unique feature of a non-retractable roof sets it apart from other MLB venues. While it offers a quirky and enjoyable game-watching experience, its location in St. Petersburg makes it less accessible for fans residing on the Tampa side of the Bay. The team has expressed its desire to build a new ballpark, but even that would be situated in St. Petersburg.
Historical Context: The 1919 World Series
To understand the significance of the low attendance during Game 7 of the 1919 World Series, it is important to consider the circumstances. The Cincinnati Reds required fans to purchase tickets in three-game blocks, and Game 7 was their fourth home game of the series. This miscommunication, coupled with long lines at the Reds’ ticket office, resulted in a smaller crowd of only 13,923.
Player Perspective and Fan Support
Despite the low attendance, Rays shortstop Taylor Walls acknowledged the enthusiasm of the fans present at Tropicana Field. He appreciated their support and hoped for a more packed stadium in future games to create a vibrant atmosphere.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series drew historically low attendance at Tropicana Field. This article highlighted the significance of this low turnout, compared it to other games, discussed the ongoing crowd struggles faced by the Rays, and provided insights into the historical context of low attendance in baseball. As the Rays continue their postseason journey, they face the challenge of rallying fan support and turning their performance around to avoid an early playoff exit.