Count Rays outfielder Tommy Pham among those who notices the number of empty seats at Tropicana Field. In an interview with MLB Network Radio on Thursday, Pham said, “It sucks going from playing in front of a great fan base to a team with really no fan base at all.”
Pham began the season with the Cardinals in St. Louis, but was traded to the Rays ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Rays finished the year having drawn 1,154,973 fans to the stadium while the Cardinals brought 3,403,587, according to Baseball Reference.
There has been some talk, now that new stadium plans are dead, that the Rays could be moved out of St. Petersburg, Florida. On that subject, Pham said, “Do I think something has to happen, whether it be a new ballpark, maybe a new city? I think so.”
The Rays were quite competitive last year, winning 90 games despite a tiny payroll and a lack of fan support. Still, it can’t be fun for Pham and others to play in a mostly-empty stadium on a daily basis. Pham is entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so he’s stuck in St. Pete until after the 2021 season unless the Rays decide to trade him at some point.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.