Evan Longoria on Rays in Tampa Bay: 'Somewhere Else Might Be Better'

"The best decision might be to move the team" Longoria said.
Publish date:

Evan Longoria isn't sure Tampa Bay should stay the home of the Rays, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays announced in February that they were planning on moving across town from St. Petersburg to Ybor City, a Tampa neighborhood. Despite the Rays' new plans, Longoria doesn't think building a new stadium will fix the team's problems.

"Honestly, and this is maybe not something I should say, but my gut tells me that the best decision might be to move the team,'' Longoria said. "I say that only because I look at the example of the Miami Marlins, and (a new stadium) didn't really solve their attendance issues. So from purely an attendance standpoint, somewhere else might be better.''

Longoria played for the Rays for the first 10 years of his career before being traded to the Giants in December. As the then-face of the franchise, Longoria received criticism in the past when he spoke out about low attendance issues at Tropicana Field. 

The Rays notoriously suffer from poor ticket sales and attendance, which prompted their search for a new stadium. They were last in attendance in Major League Baseball in 2017, according to ESPN, averaging only 15,670 fans per home game. 

"It pains me to say that, but players want to play in a place where you have consistent support,'' Longoria said. "It's a selfish thing to say probably as a player, but, I don't know, does anyone really want to play in front of 10,000 a night?" 

Longoria also said that he doesn't think Ybor City is the best spot for the Rays but does believe they should be in Tampa rather than St. Petersburg.

The third baseman suggested the team build a new ballpark across the street from Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers. Longoria is also in favor of a ballpark with a retractable roof and real grass like Houston's Minute Maid Park.