Yesterday's game versus the Royals had an attendance of 31,913. While that's a ton of fannys in the seats for a mid-week day game, it wasn't anywhere near a sellout. Is the DC market already losing interest in the phenom? Is that even a problem?
Strasburgs first two home games were virtually sellouts (40,315 and 40,325) and doubled the probably attendance from around 20K apiece. Well probably. The first game was certainly at least double what they would have gotten from a regular Pirates game. The next day the Nats drew 18,876. The White Sox game leaves a bit more to interpretation. As a Friday night game the previous Friday night attendance (June 4th) was 33,774 against the Reds. Of course that is ALSO a Strasburg effect game since the team let fools buy up tickets for this game believing it would be the debut. The Friday game before that (May 21st) drew 27,378 but that was the Orioles, another game you'd expect a higher draw. The Friday game before THAT (May 7th) was a Marlins snoozer bringing in 20,161. That might be more "typical" but is a Friday in early May really equivalent to one in mid-June? Against a AL team of more interest? Still, I think it's fair to say he still doubled it though - I mean what more can he do than sell it out?
The next Strasburg game won't tell us much. It'll likely be a Sunday game vs the Mets and I'd be shocked if that didn't sell out. After that though is a Saturday game vs the Giants. Usually Saturday games will sell well and it's the last Saturday game before the All-Star break. So I'd hope to see a sellout.
Don't take this to be anything more than some random thoughts. There is no surprise here. Fans will come to see Strasburg but will slowly fade away, even for his games, unless the team wins. I'm just curious on how slowly that will be. (or if the team will start winning, of course)
UPDATE UPDATE : Commenter Bowdenball called me out on a couple things which led me to find a bigger error - June 10th wasn't a day game. The Nats actally haven't played a mid-week home day game since the 22nd of April and frankly I don't think that's comparable. So scratch any day game comparisons.
I think the heat and humidity does matter but it also tells you there is a limit to how bad the casual fan wants to see Strasburg. Granted they were given possibly the worst conditions for a ballgame to come out to : super hot, midday weekday, vs Royals, the Nats offense playing like it has - and they still came out to see Strasburg, but more could have and didn't. For the first two games sellouts helped hide this fact, that there is a limit. I'd be surprised if Strasburg didn't sell out the next two games (Mets and Giants, though Saturday and Friday not Sunday and Saturday as I said. Forgot they were just skipping the 5th rotation spot) but I still think the bonus crowds will slowly diminish. Maybe I'm wrong, though. If the guy is still sporting an ERA under 2.00 come mid August...