FanDuel - WFBC

April 10, 2014

Exceptionally Small Crowds Greet New Baseball Season: The New York Times has a 10-photo slideshow today with tens of thousands of fans disguised as empty seats at Major League ballparks in Kansas City, Cleveland, Toronto, Miami and New York City. The paper calls the attendance, even for the spring when colder weather keeps some fans at home, "especially bleak."

posted by rcade to baseball at 01:28 PM - 12 comments

In related news, Monday's Astros game on Comcast Sports Houston drew a 0.0 rating.

posted by rcade at 02:02 PM on April 10

Of course they show Blue Jays/Astros series, and not the 132,000+ that showed up for the three game series against the Yankees last weekend.

Now, it would probably be interesting to do a straight comparison between 2013 and 2014, right?

Attendance is down a whopping 204 people per game (as of games played on April 9th).

Begin panicking!

posted by grum@work at 02:20 PM on April 10

Reported attendance is based on ticket sales.

Which raises the question of why people are buying tickets and not going. I'd love me some Major League Baseball closer than 210 miles away.

posted by rcade at 02:48 PM on April 10

If you're doing the math (and you know I am), that's a difference of around 0.68% between 2013 and 2014. That's not close to being above statistical noise.

posted by grum@work at 02:48 PM on April 10

Without looking at any numbers, this does feel like a story that's trotted out every year. And trying to discern a trend after 3 series have been played is meaningless: you play the Red Sox and Yankees in 2013, you play KC and Florida in 2014 . . . there's going to be a difference.

Which raises the question of why people are buying tickets and not going.

How many season ticket holders make all 81 games? This story would be more compelling if the weather were nicer.

posted by yerfatma at 02:55 PM on April 10

Guaranteed stories for the early part of the MLB season:

1) Home runs are [up/down] X% since last year at this time. Steroid testing [is/isn't] working!

2) Attendance is [up/down] X% since last year at this time. Steroid stories [are/aren't] bothering fans!

3) Player X is doing a lot [better/worse] than last year at this time. [He's in the [best/worst] shape of his career!]/[He's definitely [on/off] steroids now!]

posted by grum@work at 03:26 PM on April 10

Padres had record attendance on their opening day this year (108% of capacity or something), so they're bucking the trend. Of course, it was a Sunday game against the Dodgers.

posted by LionIndex at 04:56 PM on April 10

I would welcome any indication that MLB (or the NFL, NBA, or NHL) is in economic decline, but I'm not holding my breath.

The last time I held my breath was when A-Rod did his own deal with the Yankees and kicked Scott Boras to the sideline. My thought was that Boras might have been on the verge of having the Senator McCarthy moment that he so richly deserved. But it was not to be. The serpent thrives on.

Whatever is going to happen with the economics of major league sports will happen when it happens. In the meantime, they don't have any of my money.

posted by beaverboard at 06:57 PM on April 10

Baseball is becoming one-dimensional. All position players think they are home run hitters, and the days of players knowing how to actually hit, especially hit to all fields, is practically gone. I can't believe the number of shifts defenses play against opposing lineups this year. Everyone from outfielders and first basemen to shortstops have drastic shifts put on against them, leaving half the field wide open. They ignore this, however, swing from their heels, and try to hit through the shift. Starting pitchers fan at least 10 batters per game because contact hitting is a lost art.

It's all making an already slow game very boring. Not a great scenario to attract fans.

posted by dyams at 09:17 PM on April 10

Baseball is becoming one-dimensional. All position players think they are home run hitters

Grum, you forgot one of the stories for your list!

posted by yerfatma at 09:43 PM on April 10

Baseball is becoming one-dimensional. All position players think they are home run hitters, and the days of players knowing how to actually hit, especially hit to all fields, is practically gone.

Wholeheartedly disagree. There have always been dead pull hitters, and there are still an exceptional number of truly pro hitters. Guys like Cabrera, Pedroia, Trout, McCutchen, Jeter, Posey, Votto, Cano, Molina - they all go the other way.

Jack Clark existed 20 years ago. The defences have shifted, but not because there are more pure pull hitters, but they've adjusted how they play 'em. The league average since 1972 has fluctuated between .255-.275, and while we're currently at a .256, you have to also take into account that the defences are much improved and players are more athletic today than ever.

posted by dfleming at 07:10 AM on April 11

I have to disagree: I think Jack Clark was a virus and the idea of "existence" isn't so cut and dried as you suggest.

posted by yerfatma at 08:12 AM on April 11

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