The Tampa Bay Rays have given up trying to win their community over with quality baseball and are instead resorting to a new tactic: free baseball.After team stars David Price and Evan Longoria called out their “embarrassing” fanbase for failing to show up for a potential playoff clinching game on Monday, turnout improved quite a bit for Tuesday’s game; the day they actually clinched. The announced attendance of 17,891 was about 5,000 more than the previous night, but still well below their season average. So with tonight’s contest being the final home game of the regular season, the team is going for broke. The first 20,000 fans who show up without tickets will get in for free. (Fans who already paid will get a bonus upgrade to box seats.)
The move may not make much business sense and it may or may not actually foster some much-needed goodwill around town, but there’s also the added danger that it will backfire completely. What if they give out 100% free admission to see a playoff-bound baseball team … and people still didn’t show up? The viability of Florida baseball has been called into question many times before, but tonight’s game may put it to an unexpected–and potentially humiliating–test.
If the team with the best record in Major League Baseball can’t give themselves away, maybe it’s time to give themselves up.
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