Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays struggle with attendance. Former star Evan Longoria has a solution

Former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times he thinks the Rays should move. In this file photo, Longoria, now with the San Francisco Giants, smiles in front of teammate Buster Posey after Longoria's three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, April 29, 2018, in San Francisco.
Former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times he thinks the Rays should move. In this file photo, Longoria, now with the San Francisco Giants, smiles in front of teammate Buster Posey after Longoria's three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, April 29, 2018, in San Francisco. Associated Press

Former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria didn't mince words in a recent interview he conducted with the Tampa Bay Times.

Longoria, who was the face of the franchise before Tampa traded him to San Francisco in December, was asked about the ongoing dilemma surrounding the Rays and their possible new stadium in the Tampa Bay market.

The Rays announced a plan to move from St. Petersburg, where Tropicana Field is, to Ybor City, a Tampa neighborhood, in February.

Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times "he is not convinced that the franchise can be successful in the Tampa Bay market even with a new stadium."

The Rays, whose current stadium deal goes through 2027, are usually the lowest in Major League Baseball attendance, and Longoria blasted the lack of fan support in the past even when the team was in playoff contention.

"Honestly, and this maybe not something I should say, but my gut tells me that the best decision might be to move the team," Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times. "I say that only because I look at the example of the Miami Marlins, and [a new stadium] didn't really solve their attendance issues. So from purely an attendance standpoint, somewhere else might be better."

Longoria said he didn't agree with the Ybor City destination, offered moving across from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and didn't offer any out-of-market places, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked about Longoria's comments in the Tampa Bay Times story during an MLB Network Radio show.

"He's certainly entitled to say what he wants to say," Cash said. "... The bottom line from my standpoint is we want to win ballgames right now. ... When people show up at the Trop for us, it energizes us. It helps us win games. And little things like that, I think that's what players feed off of when they come to the ballpark. Just win games and [fans] are going to show up."

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