If you're A.D.D like me, skip to the last main paragraph: we can turn things around, we have the Rays support, but we need the help of every passionate fan out there to make it a reality.
Over the last six or seven days, I have been able to make some considerable headway. Two main items: 1. The short-term issue with "policy" of not standing during significant game situations and 2. The long-term issue of empty seats and a general lack of fun at the Trop.
For point one, I feel good. Trop management clearly stated to me that, "...I am disturbed to hear that you’ve been asked to sit down in these full count situations. We WANT and NEED our fans to be proud and passionate, especially in these key times...Our fan hosts overall do a great job and are very fan friendly, but it sounds like they may have responded improperly here."
I was very impressed with all of the folks I talked to in the front office over the last week, and I am now certain that a grassroots movement is what will turn this around. As other posters have said, this won't happen overnight due to the general Tampa Bay area - it's not a baseball town. However, it comes down to one simple thing: people need to leave the Pit feeling like they had a fun time. This leads me to point 2.
In order to make things fun, I got a verbal buy-in that having small groups (~150 fans in each group/club at each game) can help create a good sense of bonding and fun. This fun will be infectious as others at the Trop and on TV see these segregated groups having a great time; they in turn will want to join the group. I am asking to set aside the top 12 rows in section 129 for the first group and the same in 130 for the second; this is approximately 200 seats in each section. New groups will form and get a designated area. The goal would be that there are so many of these groups that the Rays can't allow more groups since Pit is packed and rockin!
There are a lot of logistics to making this work, but I know we can work that out (e.g. ticket brokers taking advantage of the situation) The key is getting the first group of fans together.
What do we need? We need to get some folks that will go to the game, buy a cheap seat, sit (and stay) in section 129, talk baseball and HAVE FUN. Simple stuff.
Who do we need? We need people that will go to a Royals game on Wednesday when we're twelve games out of first. A group that will go to a season-ending series against the Mariners when we're a sub-.500 team. We need people that will stand up and cheer at appropriate times, and also keep their asses parked an non-appropriate times. We need people that love baseball, love the Rays and just want to have a fun time with others that feel the same way.
When/How do we do it? I will have a basic website set up this weekend for folks to sign up to join this new Rowdy Rays group (or whatever it will be called). In the meantime, spread the word to your kids, your wife(s) and friends. We need to get at least 125 folks to even run this up the flag pole with the Rays front office. We won't cap the sign-up sheet at this point. It would be awesome if we got over 200 passionate, devoted Rays fans to sign-up. I also could use some help organizing, so let me know if you have some time or any ideas: email me here, my name is Teo. We can make this work guys. We just need to have an open mind that we can change things with small, significant steps. Bottom line: we just need to have some fun at the Pit!
OK - who's with me?!?!?!?