ST. PETERSBURG — A new effort to drum up fan support for keeping the Rays on either side of Tampa Bay kicked off Thursday across from Tropicana Field, at Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill, ahead of the team’s final game in a series with the Boston Red Sox.
The effort, forged by a local sports radio station, is an attempt to gather signatures from fans bound for games or at savetampabaybaseball.com. Organizers hope the effort will spread awareness of the possibility the Rays could leave the region altogether.
A rally hosted by 98.7 the Fan, a newcomer to local airwaves, was sparsely attended Thursday afternoon, but organizers say the campaign is only beginning.
“We’re going to see if we could wake up the community to what the future could be unless we can all unite as a community, as a region,” said Rich Herrera, an afternoon talk show host at the station and the former host of pre- and post-game shows for the Rays. “Tampa Bay, St. Pete — we all need to come together to make sure we support keeping Major League Baseball here for generations to come.”
The petition drive is the first step in what Herrera said he hopes will be a vigorous campaign to convince team and league executives how important the team is to the Tampa Bay area.