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The worst franchise in professional sports

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For a long while, the worst team in pro sports was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where heartless and ambitionless owner Hugh Culverhouse reeped the financial benefits of a team in the NFL and cared not for the team's performance.

For a few years, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Don't give me that crap about the Lightning not having fans -- they were there but the product was nothing that would draw fans in any market in the North America (four 50 loss seasons in a row will do that to you). The mystery Japanese owners and "Uncle" Art Williams -- football fan come hockey owner -- were some of what made the Lightning so laughable.

But today, Tampa Bay hosts another of the most incompetant, misrun franchises in professional sports history and there has never been a day of delight for fans of the team (unlike the Bucs who had reached the playoffs several times before they imploded in the early 1980's, or the Lightning who went into the playoffs and electrified the region in 1996 before they fell apart). There has been no reason for fans to do anything besides grow apathetic towards the franchise.

I'm talking about the Devil Rays.

Of course someone can point out the Los Angeles Clippers and their futility and I will not argue that. Someone can point to the Arizona Cardinals and I can't argue with that (as the Cards are owned by Culverhouse-clone Bill Bidwell). Someone can point to the Chicago Blackhawks, and I can argue that the 'Hawks are facing ill right now but they have a history and loyal fans stick with the team regardless of the ineptitude of the last few decades.

The Rays have had nothing since their inception and -- this is hilarious -- they have raised ticket prices this season while giving fans absolutely no justification for doing so. No off season moves, no big changes, no signs of progress and no signs of hope.

Please read John Romano's take on this and basically understand how bad, how sad, how terribly ridiculous this team is run. If there is a franchise that is the poster child for contraction - it's the Rays. Not because they perform so poorly or they can't draw fans... but because ownership doesn't understand what it takes to draw fans in the first place. This is the weak link of a corporation (MLB). Relocate them or close the store and reep the benefits from other locations. It's a joke what this region has to accept this franchise as "Major League Baseball" and an utter monstrosity that we're looked at as bad fans for not supporting a team that has given us no reason to care.