Nationals Baseball: What if they had a game and no one showed

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What if they had a game and no one showed

Just wondering because that's what Baseball Reference is showing for the first game of the double header. I see people in the stands in the highlights. Conspiracy! The media is against the Nats!

Of course maybe they did it to highlight the fact that the attendance still stinks. Even with that 23K or so that didn't go down in the books, the Nats would still be last in attendance (overall and by game) ED NOTE - BAH! I meant worst in the NL but even that's not true. Damn my confusion. They would be 14th as usual in the NL ahead of the Marlins and Pirates. Yeah, yeah, early season, bad weather, no good opponents etc. etc. But come on. This team is slightly more interesting this year.

This looks like a bad year for the Nats attendance looking at the schedule. If you are the Nats you look forward to series vs the Mets, O's, Phillies, Dodgers and Cubs (assuming it's not a Yanks or Sox year). These are the draws. Well the Mets and O's are terrible and they play the Dodgers, Cubs, and 2 out of 3 Phillies home series mid-week.

If this team wants to bring in the fans it has to win.

UPDATE : Commenter Bdrube mentions this USA Today piece on falling attendances. Come on Cleveland fans - Manny Acta is coaching his heart out there!


Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

Well, there is a lag between performance and attendance. Looking at the paper (and at the early-season box scores) they're a better team. But to, say, a Caps fan, they suck, the only hope that they have is in Hagerstown or recovering from TJ, and there's a bunch of stiffs in the rotation.

Besides, I'm a huge fan, but the pleasures of that park are lost on me when they say the "main event" is finding a new way for Teddy to come in last. And there's a video arcade. Meh.

bdrube said...

It is not just the Nats. A recent USA Today article said that about ten teams set their all time record low attendance for a single game in their current facilities already this year, including the Yankees and the Mets! The Royals have actually drawn below 10K for several games, and that is the "official" tickets sold number and not actual fannies in the seats. Funny thing is, the Nats were NOT one of the teams setting a record low.

If the economy continues to struggle and gas prices keep skyrocketing, attendance is going to suffer all around baseball this year.

Anonymous said...

Nats attendance is up over the same amount of dates as compared to 2010, so I am not sure what the relevance of this post is. It's April.

Anonymous said...

For a traditional doubleheader such as the one on Sunday, attendance is only shown for one of the two games and the other game is shown as zero. This is because the same ticket gets you into both games, and since the attendance figures show paid attendance rather than turnstile count it would be double counting to show the number for both games. I believe when they calculate the per-game average they also count the doubleheader as one game, but I'm not entirely sure about that.

A split doubleheader (which most are these days) is counted as two separate games, since a separate ticket is required.

Harper said...

Anon #1 - no point, attendance is just something I keep an eye on. It is up and in light of the attendence issues that might mean something, but if the Nats are concerned with attendance (which one would think they would be), the numbers still aren't good and there aren't any cash cows coming up.

Anon #2 - Thanks though it kills me that only 23K took advantage of a trad. double header. 2 games for 1, people!

Anonymous said...

I understand Harper I just don't think the attendance debate is that big of a deal - if the team wins they will draw and that goes for about most every other market. April is just a tough time of the year to draw -- if anything I was slightly impressed they drew over 20K for any game other than opening day so far. Thanks for the good work.

Donald said...

At this time of the year, weather is a bigger factor than opponent. I was thinking about going to the game last Friday but the chill wind kept us away -- my brother was visiting and he was the one to back out, in my fair weather defense.

Hoo said...

I've been to games this year and it's much more pleasant (and cheaper) watch from my living room where I'm not subject to wetness and cold chills.

The weather has been pretty crummy for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the Nationals are not last in attendance...

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous to look at this now - it's early in the season, too many people are following the Caps right now and the weather has been really crappy. The Nats are obviously better than they've been in the past, but there is no die hard fan base yet to support the attendance numbers. If they keep playing like this, those numbers will improve as the weather improves.

Lee said...

Yeah. Anon has it right. It's all about the Caps. I went to the Friday game and had tickets to Saturday...but well...there was rain. Sunday rolled around and I had plans to watch the Caps so I ate my Saturday tickets.

The weather has been gross too. Opening day was blah and it hailed for game 2 (a Saturday). Better weather and there would have been more randoms (or season ticket holders) showing up to the stadium. Bad couple of days to be a scalper. Glad I sold my other pair of tickets early on stubhub.

Todd Boss said...

DC is a football town first, then a "fair weather sports" town for all other teams. The Caps are good right now, so they draw. The wizards are awful, so they don't.

The only time the Nats were decent in Washington was in 2005, their first season, so its hard to definitively state that the 30k+ they were averaging that season was novelty of the team or because they were a good watch.

I do know this; the season ticket base has probably been cut in half since arriving at the new stadium. Price gauging, relocation complaints and the horrible product put on the field all conspired to (in some columnist estimates) take the season ticket base from 20k to 9k or so. I used to have 8, now I buy into someone elses pair for a handful of games.

I'm sure the signings of Harper and Strasburg have somewhat increased attendance at Nats games, but we won't see 30k/night again until the team actually is good.

Harper said...

Anon - if they win they'll draw but the question is will they draw enough? I guess we won't know until they do win, but all the early indicators weren't good. They underdraw for metro area and didn't maintain the bumps you'd like to see for a new team and new park. This is what really interests me. I don't want ownership to have excuses not to spend money.

Donald / Hoo - granted but can you enjoy the hopping nightlife that surrounds the park at home? I think not! Party in 3rd deck of the parking garage!

Anon #3 - Hey! I corrected myself!

Lee - lucky for the Nats the Caps are the Caps, so they won't be in the playoffs long, am I right?

TB - Now that something to chew on. A normal team would have a season ticket base that had been that way for years, with a decent number just based on inertia as long as they weren't priced out. They go because that's what they've always done. The Nats season ticket base would have been fresh in 05, but could have been more agreeable to letting them slide away when the team wasn't good because going to Nats games wasn't ingrained as something they did all the time.