Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham has doubled down on his criticism of his team’s lack of fan support.
While addressing the Rays’ poor attendance, Pham said in December that the organization has “really no fan base at all” and that a new ballpark or city may be needed to fix the problem.
At the team’s Fan Fest at Tropicana Field on Saturday, Pham pleaded with fans to show their support in the upcoming season.
“When you’re a team of our caliber it would be nice — because I do envision us winning — to have more fan support at our games,” said Pham. “I’m appreciative for the fans that we do have. … I do think it would be good for the team because a lot of these guys are young and they’ve never had the experience yet of playing in that kind of environment.”
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Pham previously played for the St. Louis Cardinals, who boast some of the most loyal fans in the major leagues.
“It sucks going from playing in front of a great fan base to a team with really no fan base at all,” Pham said back in December. “St. Louis, they’re one of the few teams to where day in and day out they have 40,000 fans at every game.”
When asked if he thought the fans may turn on him for the comments, Pham said he wasn’t concerned, despite the fact that “the truth hurts.”
“I saw a lot of familiar faces at the games last year and I even handed out game-used memorabilia to a lot of familiar faces, Pham said.
“I don’t think one possibly truthful sentence would jeopardize me as a player, my contributions, what I do for the team.”