MLB Team's Staggeringly Small Crowd Sets Record


Thanks to the countless day games in MLB, attendance numbers carry a caveat in terms of their relationship to the actual attendance.

Because of work or school, most fans are unable to attend these day games, which usually take place midweek for easier travel later that night.

But the attendance at the Toronto Blue Jays-Tampa Bay Rays game Tuesday gets no such caveat as the game took place at 7:10 p.m. local time.

It drew just 5,786 fans, which is not only the smallest home crowd of the season for Tampa Bay but also the smallest crowd ever in the 22 seasons the Rays have played at Tropicana Field.

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The figure is also the lowest attendance for any MLB game this season — 148 fewer people went to Tropicana than showed up in Miami on April 2 for a Marlins game against the New York Mets.

The previous low at Tropicana Field most definitely has a caveat attached to it: On Sept. 5, 2017, just over 6,500 watched the Rays play as Hurricane Irma was approaching.

Pitcher Ryne Stanek couldn’t help but notice the pitiful showing by the Rays fans for the divisional matchup Tuesday.

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“I definitely noticed it,” Stanek said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I noticed it during the anthem. I was like, ‘Oh, it’s still early, maybe people are still going to file in.’ I didn’t know that (it was the smallest ever).

“It’s tough, especially when we’re playing well and we’re playing a fun brand of baseball and it’s fun to watch. We don’t play boring games. We don’t play sloppy. That’s tough.”

The dreadful showing for Tuesday’s game came despite the Rays coming in as the hottest team in the majors. They had won three in a row, the longest active streak in all of baseball.

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Tampa Bay beat Toronto 3-1 to extend the winning streak to four and is in prime position for a wild-card spot.

The Rays have the worst average home attendance in the American League, but that’s nothing new for them.

Since its MLB arrival in 1998, Tampa Bay has finished dead last in AL attendance in 14 of its 22 seasons.

The only time it finished in the upper half of the league in attendance was during its debut season.

It appears to be more of a Florida thing than a Tampa Bay thing. The only team with worst attendance than the Rays this season is the Marlins.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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