Fans, those fickle beasts
As a Red Sox fan, I often hear the same refrain from fans of baseball teams that suck: The Boston Red Sox blow all this money on players and we can't! It's unfair! Wahhhh! These fans never mention that they're team probably got a stadium financed with public funds while the Sox ownership keeps pouring money into the smallest, and one of the oldest, stadiums in baseball.
Boston fans also pay astronomically high ticket prices, yet fill up that tiny little bucket of a stadium 81 times a year. Every Sox game over the past five years has been a sellout.
No wonder the Red Sox can afford to give outrageous contracts to all stars. But what amazes me this baseball season is the Tampa Bay Rays fanbase -- if you can even call it that. The Rays have arguably been the best team in baseball all season, yet Rays fans complain their team sucks. The fans level of whining reflects in attendance at home games -- about 12,000 fans saw their Rays clinch a playoff berth last night.
I just checked Rays ticket prices. Bleacher and upper deck seats go for $10 - 17; press box level seats go for $29; the second section of seats behind all the "expensive" front section seats go for $22; and the lower box/front section seats go for $42. At most stadiums, upper deck seats behind the plate are fine -- and those go for minor league prices for Rays fans! And $42 gets you close to the field? Forty-two dollars doesn't get you a friggen hot dog and beer at Fenway Park. Rays fans can pay these prices to see an elite team that could win the World Series this season play! What are they complaining about?
So the next time I hear some fans bitching about how the Red Sox buy championships and only the Yankees can afford to compete with them, I'll ask them why fans can't show up when the Rays put a winning team on the field. As for that salary dump your team will do next season, Tampa -- hey, you get what you pay for. You'll have no right to complain about it.
One final note, speaking as a Red Sox fan: If the Rays make it to the World Series, I can't wait to see the Phillies stomp all over them again.