Or more to the point, there’s no shortage of frustration amongst baseball’s higher payroll clubs that they continue to contribute to the Rays’ meager payroll (and regular season success) via the luxury tax. With contests at Tropicana Field played in relative privacy, there seems little chance the Rays will increase payroll substantially on their own volition, a situation that led venue-challenged owner Stuart Steinberg to declare Thursday, “Major League Baseball no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area”. Almost on cue, MLB issued the following press release, which could well be titled, “You’re Fucking Right We Don’t”

“The Commissioner has had conversations with Stuart Sternberg and is disappointed with the current situation in the Tampa Bay market. The status quo is simply not sustainable. The Rays have been a model organization, averaging nearly 92 wins per year since 2008 and participating in the postseason three times, including their inaugural World Series in 2008. Their .565 winning percentage over the last five years is second among all American League clubs and third in all of Major League Baseball. Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game. The club is an eager contributor to worthy causes in the Tampa and St. Petersburg communities and takes pride in meeting the social responsibilities that come with being a Major League franchise. We are hopeful that the market will respond in kind to a club that has done a marvelous job on and off the field.”