Where are all the fans?

Earlier this afternoon, several of the Rays players were joking in the clubhouse about Monday’s giveaway being a seat as the initial attendance was only expected to be half-full. It wasn’t even that, as the announced attendance of 12, 446 was the fourth-lowest crowd at Tropicana Field all season, despite being a potential clinching game.

Following the Orioles 4-0 win, lefty David Price tweeted the crowd size was “embarrassing” while Evan Longoria, who has been sidelined with a left quad strain, spoke about the issue at length.

“We’ve been playing great baseball all year,” Longoria said. “Since I’ve been here in ’06, the fans have wanted a good baseball team. They have wanted to watch a contender. And for us to play good baseball for three years now and be in a spot to clinch again and go to the playoffs, I think it’s just, we’re all confused that there’s only 15 or 20,000 in the building.

“I mean we figured if we have a chance at the beginning of September than maybe the fans will come. Now it’s the end of September and it’s almost October and we’re still kind of looking up at the seats and saying, ‘Where is everybody?'”

Longoria discussed the disappointing attendance for some time, smiling throughout as he explained how he’d thought about expressing himself for some time.

“I’m not trying to take a low blow at the fans, I’m just trying to rally the troops and get more people in here,” Longoria said. “I’m not trying to say that we have bad fans or any of that, because believe me, I’ve been here since ’06 and I love the Tampa Bay community. It’s just tough to see and I feel like I was the right guy to say that.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was serving a one-game suspension and watched from the visiting GM suite, said he wasn’t surprised at the crowd size.

“I’ve been coming to Tampa for a while,” Showalter said. “I don’t know what does it have to do with…I just know that it’s a really good baseball team going to the playoffs again. From a baseball fan, I’d like to see them get a lot more support. They deserve it. But the 12,000 people that were here were very supportive, I can tell you that. They were certainly screaming at me. I kept going back as deep as I could where I could see the game.”

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