|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
|Evan Longoria, seen earlier this season, said he's been thinking about speaking out on the Rays' low home attendance for a while.|
“Silverman said he had no idea how many fans will show up for the free tickets, which will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis about 2½ hours before game time. "This is about getting more energy into Tropicana Field, getting this place packed and for the players to thrive off of that emotion," Silverman said. "We saw it in the past. We've seen it this year, and we will see it in the postseason." The current Rays roster might not be in place for fans to watch next season. Team owner Stuart Sternberg said last week that no matter what happens, the team will cut payroll during the offseason, meaning pending free agents Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano likely will not return. Tampa Bay's current payroll of $71.9 million -- a team record, but tens of millions less than the AL East-rival Yankees and Boston Red Sox -- is expected to drop to $50 million or less next season. "No question. Nothing can change that," Sternberg said of the coming payroll reduction, according to the St. Petersburg Times. "Unfortunately there's nothing that can happen between now and April that can change that unless [manager] Joe Maddon hits the lottery and wants to donate it or I hit the lottery." Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
I'm not trying to take a low blow at the fans. I'm actually trying to rally the troops and get more people in here. I'm not trying to say that we have bad fans ... It's just tough to see, and I felt I was the right guy to say it.” -- Evan Longoria