The Tampa Bay Rays suffered a brutal 4-0 home Wild Card loss to the Texas Rangers Tuesday, with the four errors they committed there playing a major role in that defeat. But they also drew a remarkably-low attendance for that game, something not seen in the MLB Postseason since 1919:
Here's some perspective on today's attendance of 19,704 at the Trop: according to @Stathead, it's the lowest (non-Covid year) attendance for a postseason game in 104 years. Last one below 19,704 was Game 7 of the infamous 1919 World Series in Cincinnati.
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 3, 2023
And as Jacob Pomrenke noted, even that 1919 number comes with some context:
Some context on 1919 World Series ticket snafu: Reds forced fans to buy 3-game blocks, and this was their 4th home game — single-game tickets were only on sale for a few hours that morning in downtown Cincinnati. Only 13K showed up for Game 7 (of 8). https://t.co/zTt8SRvF04 https://t.co/IFcuZCdwm3
— Jacob Pomrenke (@buckweaver) October 3, 2023
So this is not so great for the Rays, adding to the issues from their loss here. And many chimed on that, including those looking to bring MLB teams to other cities (or keep looking-to-move MLB teams there):
So in five years when the Rays are in North Carolina or Montreal and someone says "When did we know they were going to move?" it'll be easy to point to today's attendance & the abysmal optic as that moment.
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) October 3, 2023
I'm against any city losing their team, but I think the Rays are an exception. They don't deserve this team. They don't deserve a new stadium. They should move to Montréal or Oakland. https://t.co/4MX4RhMsvi
— Max Margulis (@MaxsAllStars) October 4, 2023
Seriously, MLB should never have killed the idea to split the Rays franchise between Tampa Bay and Montreal. Pretty bad look for baseball when one of your best teams can’t fill their stadium in the post season. https://t.co/GAXxQ5Qs6T
— Brian Doucet (@bmdoucet) October 4, 2023
Attendance at the Coliseum for the last A’s playoff game with fans allowed to attend (2019 wild-card loss to Rays): 54,005 https://t.co/3W5THabTAb
— Steve Berman (@BASportsGuy) October 3, 2023
There’s obviously significant context to consider here. This game started at 3 p.m. local on a Tuesday, which is part of MLB’s overall Postseason scheduling and not fully under the team’s control. And it was just the first game of a three-game series.
And there are lots of discussions about the Rays’ current stadium and their new proposed $1.3 billion stadium. And those are all a factor here as well. And beyond the rough game start time, conditions at Tropicana Field have long been a conversation around this team. So there are quite a few other things that can be worked into overall consideration here. But it’s still notable to see the Rays post this incredibly-low attendance number.
[Tyler Kepner on Twitter]