Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham may not receive a standing ovation for his first home game in 2019. Pham didn’t make many friends among Rays fans Thursday, saying the team’s fan base is non-existent.
[Play in our Week 17 DFS contest: $1M prize pool. $100K to first. Join now!]
Pham spoke to MLB Network Radio, where he expressed a few frustrations about local fans not coming out to support the Rays.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 27, 2018
Here are the relevant parts of Pham’s quote:
“It sucks going from playing in front of a great fan base to a team with really no fan base at all. St. Louis, they are one of the few teams to where, day in and day out, they have 40,000 fans out every game. That’s something that I miss.
The Rays, they just don’t have that. Do I think something has to happen, whether it be a new ballpark, maybe a new city? I think so. If you have a team that’s going to be winning 90-plus games competing in that division, and you don’t have any fan support, then that’s a huge problem.”
The St. Louis Cardinals — Pham’s former team — averaged 42,019 fans in 2018, according to ESPN. That ranked as the third-most in baseball. The Rays, on the other hand, averaged just 14,258 fans per game. That ranked just ahead of the Miami Marlins for the worst average attendance in baseball.
Attendance has been in issue for the Rays over the years. Prior to 2018, the Rays have ranked dead last in average attendance from 2017 to 2012.
While Pham — who hit .275/.367/.464 last season — may not get the warmest reception from fans on opening day, he’ll have plenty of time to get back on their good side. Unless he’s traded, Pham is under team control with the Rays through 2021.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• School district boycotting ref who made wrestler cut dreadlocks
• Bengals’ Burfict suffers 7th career concussion, 2nd this month
• Martin: Do the Giants have an Eli exit plan?
• Browns QB defends Hue Jackson staredown