Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Where Are Rays Fans?

↵ ↵Today's Calls: Rays vs. Red Sox, A-Rod vs. Madonna, Roy Halladay vs. Greg Smith, Baron Davis vs. Gilbert Arenas, Katie Hoff vs. Natalie Coughlin and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: "Great seats still available" should be a verboten phrase for the Rays, not effectively the team motto. ↵

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↵During the team's breakthrough season, the most maddening (even "Maddoning") detail has been the team's attendance at the Trop: First in the AL East in the standings; 13th of 14 in the AL in total attendance. ↵

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↵If any scenario was going to bring out the fans, last night vs. the Red Sox would: The Rays had displaced the Sox at the top of the AL East; the Rays were 0-6 at Fenway, but were 3-0 vs. Boston in St. Pete. ↵

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↵Oh, and the last time they played, they took part in the best brawl of the MLB season so far (involving Monday's SP James Shields, no less). ↵

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↵And the Rays fans PACKED the place -- 34,145. ("Packed" is relative, I guess, when you're averaging 20K a game on paper.) I mean, sure it was a Monday night and all, but WHAT IS WRONG WITH FANS IN TAMPA? First place! Red Sox! Brawl! Come on! ↵

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↵I'm not criticizing the fans who showed, by any stretch -- I'm criticizing the fans who didn't. ↵

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↵ ↵Did the 34,145 attendance figure represent the entirety of the local fan base? (Good news: That couldn't be; bad news: How many of that 34K were Red Sox fans? Probably a fair portion: The Red Sox turned out 36K at the Trop back in late April on a Saturday night.) ↵

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↵If not for the boost from the Red Sox and Cubs (who drew an average of 32,514 for a mid-week series a few weeks ago), the Rays' attendance would be even more paltry (even the Yankees most recent visit was met with a half-empty stadium). ↵

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↵It's not even about rooting on the home team against its new rival, battling at the top of the division (well, yes it is); it's about witnessing an epic baseball turnaround story. Is it possible that more fans of other teams are on the Rays bandwagon than there are natural fans of the Rays themselves? ↵

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↵Oh, and by the way, the Rays beat the Red Sox last night. Want to see them go at it again tonight? ↵

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↵Great seats still available. Pathetically, plenty of 'em. ↵

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↵More MLB Instant History: The Tigers are rolling. Sixth straight win, in a late-inning rally at rival Minnesota (and that was without Magglio Ordonez, who was put on the DL on Sunday)... ↵

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↵*Perhaps inspired by his rumored romantic relationship with Madonna, A-Rod is now at 14th all-time on the HR List (534, tied with Jimmie Foxx), but first-week rookie sensation Chris Davis had the game-winning RBI double for the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. ↵

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↵*The A's won the opener of a huge three-game series at Anaheim, behind rookie Greg Smith's first career CG win (4-hitter). ↵

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↵*Given that it was a walkoff winner, I wonder where Ken Griffey Jr. ranks HR No. 603 on his all-time list. ↵

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↵*Fantasy Studs: Roy Halladay (CG shutout W), Jhonny Peralta (5-5, HR, 3 RBI in a L). ↵

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↵I just can't get too worked up over Manny Ramirez's latest incident. He doesn't seem to be too worked up about it, either. ↵

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↵NBA Free Agency: Baron Davis opts out. Wow, at this stage of his career, does he really think he can do better than the $17.8M he would have earned next year by staying with the Warriors? Meanwhile, Clippers cornerstones Elton Brand and Corey Maggette both opted out, though the market is tight beyond returning to the Clips. ↵

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↵Antawn Jamison re-signs with the Wizards at 4Y/$50M: That was fast. The Wizards wanted him; he wanted to stay. Gilbert Arenas has said that he wouldn't return without Jamison; well, now he can return. ↵

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↵(Still waiting on a team with lots of cap space to throw a ton of money at the restricted FA Josh Smith; come on, folks: only three teams hording cap space can get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh in 2010.) ↵

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↵"LeBroNYC" Watch: Nothing that LeBron said in this report convinced me he has any intention of staying in Cleveland instead of bolting for the Big Apple. Really: Get over it, Cavs fans. Why not simply enjoy him for the next two years? ↵

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↵Who will run the Knicks offense under Mike D'Antoni? Perhaps Chris Duhon? Not very inspiring, but at least he's available. ↵

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↵Olympics Watch: Katie Hoff wins the 400 free, to go with her 400 IM -- and, presumably, with much more to come. ↵

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↵(This was a fun one: In a prelim heat, Hayley McGregory broke Natalie Coughlin's world record in the 100 back; the very next heat, obviously inspired, Coughlin took the world record back.) ↵

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↵Tiger Update: Will Tiger attend his own event this week? He wouldn't be much of a "host" of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. if he didn't show. Then again, his docs have told him not to. Then again again, they also told him not to compete at the U.S. Open. ↵
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↵The Last Word: Goes to Indiana University president Michael McRobbie, who told an NCAA infractions committee that IU "regrets" hiring Kelvin Sampson. I'm sure they do. ↵

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↵My problem with IU has always been that they knew what they were getting themselves into, yet they did it anyway. That's the kind of negligence that the NCAA should punish severely. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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