So the Season Opener Was sold Out- What about Game #2?
(From a Greyhound Bus Ride from New York City to Boston)
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer- and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Having just finished watching the New York Mets be victorious 1-0 over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field in their season opener, it has me now thinking, what is the attendance going to be for Game # 2? Despite reports that the game was sold out, there were many empty seats out there. This is a problem for a lot of teams in the Majors, but it is becoming a problem to even big market teams like the Mets. A dwindling team payroll, with devastating and unfortunate injuries have not been aided by the Wilpon’s financial status either in New York. If Johan Santana can recapture any likeness to his old self, the Mets actually might be okay this year. (Kind of like when the construction workers in the movie ‘Major League’ don’t think that the team is that bad.)
Teams like Kansas City, Baltimore, Toronto and Pittsburgh will routinely have a spectacular opening day crowd and then fall off of the map. So what is the solution to fix the problem? To me, the organizations would be wise to discount all April games in order to raise attendance up. Having more affordable tickets may bring in a crowd that the team would not normally see because they might not be able to pay full prices for tickets. At the very least, the teams should slash the 3 or 4 cheapest tickets down in price. People are still going to pay for concession food, parking and maybe buy something from the Team Store on the way out of the Park. Having pitiful crowds is certainly not the answer to creating a buzz for the rest of the impending ball season. Yes there are also weather factors that lead to the decline in attendance for the first month too. The Major League Clubs should really start thinking outside of the box to create new and exciting ways to promote coming to the ballpark. The Kansas City Royals may surprise some people with their club this year, but will it be enough to flock the crowds to Kauffman Stadium? They could end up winning 85-90 games this year, yet still be squeezed out of the playoffs by the Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Red Sox, Rangers and Rays all having better years to qualify for postseason.
Of course there are the perennial losing teams like the Pirates. Orioles and Royals who haven’t made the playoffs in 15-25 years respectively, this doesn’t help give the fans any promise either. The Toronto Blue Jays seem to have teams capable of winning 80-90 games every year, however they have had to contend with powerhouses like Boston and New York always toting big payrolls and piggybanks, in which this has cost the team from making the playoffs every since winning the 1993 World Series. The city of Toronto will support a time if they are winners, yet they will stay away once the team falls out of contention. The team must pray that the 2nd wildcard team will keep the Canadian team in the mix longer this year.
The Pirates haven’t been the same since Barry Bonds couldn’t throw out Sid Bream from deep short in the 1992 NLCS. They have one of the best ballparks in the Majors and can’t break the losing season curse to help with the fans coming to the park. There were some strong signs that the team will be heavily supported if they can sustain some early success this season because last year, the Pirates had been dangling around 1st in the NL Central and saw a spike at the ticket wickets up to the ALL-Star Break. Then in typical Bucs fashion, they only won about 30% of the games from that point. The season that looked so promising soon reminded the restless Pittsburgh residents, that they could not break whatever spell was left behind when Barry Bonds left for San Francisco.
This leaves the Balimore Orioles. Once a proud and model franchise in the MLB, the Orioles have been in the AL East basement for the better part of the last 15 seasons. This is truly amazing that the team can hardly draw more fans considering the park. I can only imagine what Cal Ripken thinks about the team he was once played 2632 straight games for. Baltimore is amongst the lower attended ballparks in the Majors, seemingly this should not be case with how nice Oriole Park at Camden Yards is. The fans were spoiled with this club for a few generations from 1965-1983. If they can somehow start contending for a playoff spot, I think the people would love the ability to watch meaningful baseball in August and September.
These are all teams that start off with a great 1st day before the rest of the year goes downhill. Baseball is a sport on the rise again in popularity. It is this writers honest opinion that the fans are slowly heading back to the turnstiles. I see more kids at baseball games than any other of the 3 Major Sports. The teams just need to take it easy on the fans for first 4-6 weeks of the season. There is so much more to write about this whole topic and I could have added more teams. For now, I will still see 4 more season openers. If something catches my eye, I will discuss it in my trip article series.
*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth30 24) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 20 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 20 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” please click here
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Posted on April 6, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged angels, baltimore orioles, barry bonds, boston, cal ripken jr, Chuck Booth, citi field, fastest 30 ballgames, johan santana, Kansas city, kauffman stadium, Lori Martini, major league the movie, new York, oriole park at camden yards, pittsburgh, pnc park, rangers, Sid Bream, tigers, yankees. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.