Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If you build it, they won't necessarily come.

There is a baseball team in Tampa, Florida. You can check the American League standings to prove it. They're listed under "AL East" and they're often near the top of the list, right there with the Yankees.

The problem is
(if you see it as a problem) that the people in Tampa do not support the team, and that angers a couple of their players, notably third baseman Evan Longoria and pitcher David Price.

"We go out there and play hard for 162 games, and for the fans to show the kind of support they're showing right now, you kind of wonder what else you have to do as a player." Longoria said in the St. Petersburg Times.

Price put this blurb on his Twitter page: "Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands....embarrassing"

For one thing, athletes should be quicker to learn that Twitter is not helping them. Sooner or later, they're going to abandon it because all it seems to do is get them into trouble.
But the bigger issue is whether players have a right to complain about non-support from their community. It is assumed that they have fans, but how many is open to conjecture.

Sports is a different animal. It isn't like real life and the people involved in sports are not treated the way you and I are treated. Players assume that merely because they built a stadium and paid them to show up, that fans would automatically appear. The trouble with that logic is that not everybody likes sports - as much as we would like to believe otherwise.

It isn't necessary or even recommended that everyone take in a baseball game or spend their Sunday afternoon watching football. If that is what you enjoy, so be it, but the presence of a ballpark doesn't necessitate people filling it or even caring that it is there. Granted, it's hard to miss, but when you see one of those blimp shots at a big sporting event, notice how many vehicles are passing on nearby highways, seemingly oblivious to something that we are told is of earth-shattering importance.

To use Longoria's logic, a lot of people "go out there" and do their jobs with passion, and frequently, large numbers of people don't care all that much. I'm sure it's disappointing to the people involved, but you can't legislate morality and you can't demand that people enjoy something that you enjoy. Great film directors make great films, but if people don't show up, you really can't blame them. You can't go house-to-house and drag them to the theater. He probably wonders "what else he has to do" as a director to get people to like his film.

Each of us can probably name a local business that we liked that went out of business, seemingly too soon and without reason. But the fact is that larger numbers of people didn't like it than did, and our opinion, in the end, didn't matter all that much because, as we know, the majority rules. Why do athletes think that their business is any different?

If the Tampa Rays aren't drawing fans, they should move, just like any other business would be forced to close or relocate because they failed to attract customers. What gives athletes the right to think that people should enjoy their sport merely because they show up? It's pompous and self-important, which sadly, is the way of sports these days.

Maybe, they should appreciate the 10,000 people who care enough to show up and thank them for not staying home altogether, which is also their right.


Kcoz said...

Yes...and maybe it is the economy, people just don't have the extra cash to plunk down for a day at the ball game and just stay home to watch it on TV.

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