Sunday, June 24, 2007
Rays Give Big Crowd Something to Cheer About
Saturday was turn back the clock day at the Trop, and it attracted an announced crowd of 24,000 people. There were of course many Rays fans, but there were many more people who came to the game to cheer the Dodgers; or to relive the Brooklyn Dodgers and meet the great Dodgers of the past on hand. Kazmir pitched well against the Dodgers giving up 3 runs in 6 innings. The Rays took the lead in the 8th inning on a Dioner Navarro home run and the bullpen managed to hold the lead.
This is the type of game that the Rays have not been winning and need to. Of course you want to win every game, and you do not want to say one game is more important than the other, but some are. When a big crowd shows up to the Trop for whatever reason, the Rays need to win that game. The Rays made a big push through the media to get people to come out to this game. They sweetened the deal by giving away Don Zimmer bobble heads and bringing in some of Zim's great teammates off of the 1955 World Champion Dodger team. I think all of this effort would have been for naught had the Rays lost.
Tampa fans are very fickle and like to watch winning teams. The Buccaneers and Lighting have shown that when you put a winning product on the field, fans in Tampa will show up and support the team, but if the team ia not winning fans won't be there. To make sure you have fans coming back and supporting the team you need to win the games where people came to game for some other reason than they enjoy Rays baseball. There is nothing worse than when the Rays draw a big crowd and stink up the joint. You leave the game and hear people talk about what a waste it was and how bad the team is. The Rays need to win over fans, and the best way to do that in Tampa is to win.
I was at the game and to me the Rays seemed to win over some people. The game was exciting and the Trop was rocking in the 9th inning with Reyes in for the save. My sister-in-law came to game with my wife and I and had a blast, and she usually hates baseball. The excitement of the game and the result has made her a fan; she actually asked if we could watch the game on TV today. The Rays won over one fan that I know of yesterday, and i am willing to bet they won over some more also. In order for this team to get over the hump and get fans on board, they need to win when they get people to the ballpark. The Rays took a step forward yesterday, and I am confident it is only the beginning.