Mike Greenberg/Rays An Awful Announcing rendering of Mike Greenberg and the Tampa Bay Rays via Getty Images.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been subject to plenty of criticism over the past few days. Whether it’s their less-than-stellar attendance numbers or being just flat-out uncompetitive in the American League Wild Card Series against the visiting Texas Rangers, the Rays have taken incoming fire from plenty of directions.

And the Worldwide Leader has been responsible for two of those shots.

The Rays have consistently had one of the lowest attendance figures in MLB for many years. This trend continued in 2023, even during the MLB postseason. On Wednesday, the Rays played Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field, but the stadium was not well-attended for the 7-1 loss.

Two ESPN employees—Sean McDonough and Mike Greenberg—have made sure to make light of that situation. And while many of those in the Tampa media have taken exception to these two thinly veiled shots, it’s hard to argue with what’s in front of you.

During Thursday’s edition of Get Up, Greenberg showed the highlights from Wednesday’s Wild Card games around MLB. He made sure to note the attendance or lack thereof with this quip: “Only friends and family in attendance for this series.”

This came on the heels of McDonough, the veteran broadcaster, no stranger to MLB broadcasts, who was on the call for the game on ABC between the Rangers and Rays. McDonough acknowledged the sparse crowd at Tropicana Field. Though, he didn’t quite refer to them as a “crowd.”

“And on to third goes [Corey] Seager. And some BOOS starting to come down from the group,” said McDonough. “I’m not sure we could call it a crowd. The group here at the Trop.”

Both McDonough and Greenberg have taken the low-hanging fruit, kicking the Rays and their fans when they’re down.

Neither is wrong. It’s no secret that the Rays don’t often field great attendance numbers. Having occupied Tropicana Field since the team’s inception in 1998 in St. Petersburg, Florida, this has unfortunately been a common occurrence for a team that’s made the postseason in five consecutive years.

At the same time, it’s a bit ironic in the sense that ESPN has TV rights to the Wild Card round of the MLB postseason. And on Tuesday, a short promo for the games was read twice on Get Up and once on First Take. According to a closed captioning search, they were the only mentions of the MLB Playoffs from 8-2 ET on ESPN Tuesday.

It’s not ESPN’s fault for pointing out the low attendance numbers, but those upset with McDonough’s comments, seem to have an issue with him making light of the lightly-attended playoff series.

“This is so distasteful to a fanbase that has shown up all year to support this team,” wrote Bally Sports Florida reporter/host Ryan Bass. “They attracted 312,000 more fans to Tropicana Field this year than in 2022 and had one of the largest attendance increases in MLB year over year. I love our fans. They deserve respect.”

You would never be able to tell by the attendance, but the Rays are one of the more successful franchises in Major League Baseball. The Rays tied a modern MLB-era record with a 13-0 start to the season. At the turn of the first month of the season, they stood at 23-6, and it was all for naught.

It remains to be seen if Greenberg will receive the same diatribe that McDonough seemingly has. Though, on Thursday’s edition of Get Up, he was already told by Dan Orlovsky to have “some self-respect,” as he talked to a framed Aaron Rodgers jersey as if he was Clint Eastwood talking to a chair.

It’ll be hard to top that, but there’s a lot of frustration boiling over from those who cover the team and fans and those who have seen their team become a punchline despite winning 99 games during the regular season.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.