Tampa Bay Rays fans –all 27 of them– have at least been lucky enough to have meaningful games to watch in September and October the last few years.

That’s more than you can say for Pirates’ fans.

But the baseball world is about to find out why the Rays haven’t been able to average 25,000 fans.

The party is over.

Carl Crawford –one of their best players and a guy who started his pro career in the Rays’ organization– is about to become a free agent and he knows he’s done in Tampa.

The Rays had a $73 million payroll (double the Pirates) and they’re planning to reduce that number for next season.

Of course, the mega-market teams have had their eyes on Crawford for a long time. Kind of like the way they have their eyes on a can’t miss prospect in their farm system. So, at 29, prime age for a baseball player, Crawford will leave  the team that he would love to play his entire career with behind.

And The Idiots Who Run Baseball will continue to wonder why they’re losing more fans than their gaining. And Bud Selig will tell you that his sport has achieved parity and that you’re lucky enough to be living in the Golden Era of Baseball.

Here’s hoping the Rays average 2,500 a game next season and lose 110 games.