Lotta blue back there.
Photo: Chris O’Meara (AP)

It’s old hat by now to say the Rays have attendance issues. The stadium’s bad. The location’s bad. Ownership is bad. The region itself might be bad. (Neil deMause ran down each of the theories in turn.) We know all this already. But it’s still news when an MLB team draws under 6,000 people, and there’s not even a natural disaster to explain it.

The Rays’ announced attendance for Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Blue Jays was 5,786, the lowest in the team’s 22-year history. That breaks the previous record of 6,509, set in 2017 with Hurricane Irma approaching, amid the largest evacuation in Florida history.

Plenty of good seats were available to see the Rays move to within a game of first place:

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“I definitely noticed it,” said Rays reliever Ryne Stanek, who threw two innings as the game’s opener.

“I noticed it during the anthem. I was like, Oh, it’s still early, maybe people are still going to file in. I didn’t know that (it was the smallest ever).

“It’s tough, especially when we’re playing well and we’re playing a fun brand of baseball and it’s fun to watch. We don’t play boring games. We don’t play sloppy. That’s tough.’’

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The Rays do not have the lowest average attendance in baseball. That honor belongs to the Marlins, who are pulling in 9,667 a game, and who on Tuesday, with no fanfare, drew just 6,407 fans.