Buzzsaw Sports Guy: A satirical look at sports
Last night, after a meeting attended by every member of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 40-man roster, third baseman Evan Longoria and starting pitcher David Price announced that the Rays would officially be losing home games on purpose if crowd support is ever “lacking in any way” during the 2011 season.
Longoria and Price, who both insulted and questioned the dedication of Rays fans at the end of last season when home game attendance remained down as they clinched a division title, said the decision was something they both campaigned for as leaders of the team as they progressed through spring training.
“We’re very pleased we were able to get this done,” Longoria said to the press following the announcement. “I mean, David [Price] and I both sucked in the playoffs last year to spite the fans, but this time around, it’s gonna be much more organized. This year, the fans will definitely see us fail if we feel as though they’ve failed us in any way.”
Longoria and Price have both remained touchy about their lack of fan fare last year, but it is still something they hadn’t commented on since the last week of the 2010 season, when they looked to nail down the AL East in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. They had lost that exceedingly boring game, 4-0, in front of about 12,500 fans.
“It’s ridiculous, it really is,” Price said. “When I’m out there throwing a ball over and over again, it’s disheartening to see only 10,000 people watching me do it. I’m a fragile guy. I need the screaming support of tens of thousands of people at any given instant to give me that affirmation that I’m good enough to play in the majors.”
“Look, I only stand to make $2 million this year,” Longoria said. “[Price] is gonna make less, only $1.25 million I think. How the hell can we justify making that little money when only thousands of people are cheering us on every home game?”
The two players did not comment on the fact that the Rays are still a very young expansion team with a very brief history of not being a last place team that no one in their right minds would ever have rooted for. They also glossed over a question that addressed the prevalence of dying Yankees fans in the area combined with native Floridian’s general ambivalence toward baseball.
Longoria and Price said Rays pitchers would throw only fastballs right down the middle when game attendance fails to exceed 15,000, and they will throw underhand if under 10,000 show up. Likewise, if attendance is not up to snuff, Rays hitters will refuse to swing when they go up to bat and they will refuse to field any ball more than three steps away while on defense.
“We hope Rays fans take these measures seriously, because playing Major League Baseball games are serious matters that at least 30,000 people should be on hand to watch every night,” Longoria said. “I’ll just finish here by saying that this Rays team has everything we need to be contenders again this year, but whether we will actually try our hardest is all up to the fans. If you [fans] want us to have a strong 2011, you need to take time out of whatever the fuck you do in your own life, come on down and show us your support and appreciation for what we do. That’s all we ask.”