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Kevin Cash on Tampa Bay crowd situation: ‘It’s a joke’

09.29.10 at 9:05 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Kevin Cash – a native of North Tampa — not only agreed with the frustrations recently relayed by Rays’ players Evan Longoria and David Price over the lack of fans in the stands at Tropicana Field, but took his criticism to another level.

“I agree with them 100 percent,” said Cash, referring to comments made by Longoria and Price in regard to the attendance (or lack thereof) at the Rays’ home ballpark despite the team making the postseason for the second time in three years. “It’s a joke. I’m not going to sit here and call out fans. I respect everything about the economy and everything. But at the same time, the Yankees and Red Sox, they’re not complaining.

When asked if the trend in attendance at The Trop could ever be reversed, Cash said, “Not in that location. Never … It’s a crummy stadium. It’s not in a good location.”

Cash knows a little bit about the stadium in St. Petersburg, which was originally named the Suncoast Dome and didn’t host a major league baseball team until the Rays started calling it home in 1998. The catcher was a member of the Tampa All-Star team that went to the Little League World Series in 1989, a group that was part of the stadium’s grand opening festivities. (Singers Kenny Rogers and Bo Diddley also were part of the event’s entertainment, which featured Cash’s team playing Wiffleball.)

He has seen first-hand the impetus for the problems facing the Tampa Bay franchise from the start, and, in Cash’s mind, it begins and ends with where the stadium resides.

“I would say the biggest reason, and the basis is, is the stadium is in a horrendous location,” I grew up as a [Tampa Bay] Bucs fan where nobody went and it was right in the middle of the city in Tampa, and they got good and people showed up.

“Their fans aren’€™t very good to begin with. The way they’€™ve performed the last three or four years, they should be getting more fans than what they are. But what kills them the most is their location. That’€™s a huge ordeal for a family to pack up from the Tampa sub-divisions, go over the bridge, deal with all that mess. The parking, getting out of the stadium, it’€™s a joke.”

As for the comments made by the Tampa Bay players, Cash has no issues with any of the execution.

“I don’€™t see anything wrong in them saying that,” he insisted. “I agree 100 percent.”

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