Ask Gary: Pham notices that the Rays don’t draw a lot

by Gary Shelton on December 29, 2018 · 2 comments

in general

Pham isn't happy wiht the Rays' attendance./STEVEN MUNCIE

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Saturday, 4 a.m.

When Tommy Pham was with the Cardinals he complained so much about not getting paid enough among other things, that management got tired of his act and shipped him off to the Rays. Now he is complaining again, this time about lack of fan support in Tampa Bay. How big of a tool is this guy and how long will it take before the trading Rays front office decides to dump this steaming pile of negativity?

Larry Beller

Oh, they'll dump him soon enough, maybe for a tool shed to be named later.

I've told you of my scenario. The Rays brought him in, I'm convinced, because Kevin Kiermaier is so injury prone, and they need someone else who can play center. But he starts his arbitration in 2019, and he'll soon price himself out of this joint. That's the funny thing here: Pham is talking about moving to another city, and I'll wager he won't be with the franchise long enough to see it.

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I'll be honest, Larry. It rarely bothers me when players squawk about attendance. I think that's part of the price for, well, not having much attendance. My concern is this: Does the situation with the empty seats fester until Pham isn't giving his best? If he wants to whine about the lack of attendance, and it doesn't affect his on-the-field play or his interaction with his teammates, I'm okay with it. But if it starts to affect either, well, it isn't going to change because of the play of Tommy Pham.

Look, we all know the attendance problems. We've talked about it, we've guessed as to the reasons why, we've wondered if it will ever be any better. But for the short term, at least, it isn't going to be significantly better.

I understand why it's irksome. In baseball, there are sergeants who think they are generals. Merely the fact that a guy who just got off the plane thinks he's qualified to speak to an age-old problem is kind of annoying. The rest of us have lived with the discussion of the problem for years. Take a number, Tommy.

But Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria once spoke to the attendance problems, too. And they continued to produce for a long time.

I'd just put it in the Tommy Pham file, Larry. You know, the one where you decide whether he's a good guy or a bad one. Even if he's right, how does this help the Rays or Tommy Pham? So far, Pham is on his way to giving fans a reason not to buy tickets instead of to buy them.

Why are the NFL Pro Bowl selections made with two games still remaining in the season?
Scott Myers

Scott, you know how I feel about that. I hate all awards that are decided before the season is over. That includes Heismans, baseball MVPs and coaches of the year. Heck, to me, the playoffs are a big part of the argument. I think I've told you about having my Heisman vote pulled because I waited until after the Orange Bowl game to vote for either Chris Weinke of FSU or Josh Heupel of Oklahoma. I thought it was close enough that their game should decide it.

Certainly, in the age of email, when you conduct a vote in an hour, there is no reason to rush. What? There aren't  flights to Orlando a month out?

Of course, it doesn't matter much locally, since no Bucs made the Pro Bowl. If one from Tampa Bay (or elsewhere) gets in as an alternate, they're still going to make travel plans after the season.

My suspicion is that the game wants the thump factor. They want coaches gathering their players and telling them they made the Pro Bowl. They want fans paying attention to the selections on TV. They want two weeks of arguing about "snubs" before the playoffs start.

Really, there is no reason not to wait and get it right. Is there?

You had a piece the other day on leadership. Who were the best leaders in the history of Tampa Bay sports? Who were the worst?

Paul Walker

I mentioned a few of the good ones. You probably recognize their names. They were great players who had different ways to lead, but their teams followed them to success.

I'd rank them this way.

1. Derrick Brooks, Bucs

2. Dave Andreychuk, Lightning.

3. Evan Longoria, Rays

4. Hardy Nickerson, Bucs

5. Jonny Gomes, Rays

Note -- I was not around when Lee Roy Selmon played. Undoubtedly, he deserves to be on the list

The worst? Let's go with this:

1. Josh Freeman, Bucs

2. Pat Burrell, Rays

3. Keyshawn Johnson, Bucs

4. Petr Klima, Lightning

5. Simeon Rice, Bucs

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