2013 MLB Attendance: What Conclusions Can We Draw?

1. Los Angeles (led overall, NL, NL West)     46,216
2. St. Louis (led NL Central)     41,602
3. San Francisco (led NL West)     41,584
4. N.Y. Yankees (led AL, AL East)     40,488
5. Texas (led AL West)     38,759
6. Detroit (led AL Central)     38,066
7. Anaheim     37,277
8. Philadelphia     37,190
9. Boston     34,979
10. Colorado     34,491
11. Washington     32,745
12. Chicago Cubs     32,625
13. Atlanta     31,465
14. Toronto     31,315
15. Cincinnati     31,288
16. Milwaukee     31,248
17. Minnesota     30,588
18. Baltimore     29,105
19. Pittsburgh     28,210
20. San Diego     26,749
21. N.Y. Mets     26,695
22. Arizona     26,355
23. Oakland     22,337
24. Chicago White Sox     22,105
25. Seattle     21,747
26. Kansas City     21,614
27. Houston     20,393
28. Cleveland     19,661
29. Miami     19,584
30. Tampa Bay     18,645

What conclusions can we draw from these figures?

Well, for one thing, in terms of spending at the ballpark, baseball is still stuck in the 2008-10 recession.

Let’s go over the figures I think are most interesting, with the number preceding being their ranking in per-game attendance:

2. St. Louis may well be what it claims to be: “The best baseball town in America.” Especially when you consider how small their metro area is — although their “market” is quite a bit bigger.

3. The Giants did that well in spite of a lousy season. This is what winning 2 World Series in 3 years can do — although that may not have happened if, as they’d intended to do in 1993, they’d moved to Tampa Bay.

4. A bad year at the box office for the Yankees is a good year for almost anybody else.

6. The Tigers are doing their part to lift Detroit, and Michigan as a whole, out of the canyon of despair.

7. No matter how much Arte Moreno spends on the Dodgers, he can’t outdraw them. Except for 2011 — the last year of the disastrous Frank McCourt ownership — the Angels have never, ever, EVER outdrawn the Dodgers.

8. Even in a lousy year, the Phillies did pretty strong.

11. The Nats didn’t make the Playoffs, but they came close, and they still benefited from the previous season’s Playoff run.

13. The Braves, by their standards, did great.

14. The Blue Jays benefited from all that preseason hype.  But after July 21, by which point reality had fully set in, they had only 3 home games with an attendance of at least 37,000: August 11, August 15 (Red Sox), and the season finale on September 29.

18. The Orioles benefited from back-to-back Playoff runs.

19. Western Pennsylvania proved that they would support a winner, if only Pirate ownership would pay for it.

21. The Mets drew 26,695 per game? 2.13 million? That may be how many tickets were sold, but that sure as hell wasn’t how many people showed up.

23. The A’s got a big jump, thanks to back-to-back Playoff runs.  Still, even with their lousy stadium and the Giants’ great one, the A’s should have done better.

24. The White Sox have a lousy season, they have lousy attendance.  The Cubs have a lousy season, they still do well.

27. The Astros’ attendance actually went up by 2.7 percent.  How they gained in attendance despite having their worst season ever, I’ll never know.

30. In their 6 winning seasons (the last 6), the Rays have averaged 20,887 fans for every home game.  They Rays had 33 away games with higher attendances than their highest home attendance of the season.  Take out their 9 home games against the Yankees, and their per-game attendance was 18,043.

Contrast that with the Montreal Expos — infamous for not drawing well — averaged 17,264.  For all 36 of their seasons, the good ones and the bad ones alike.

If the Expos could be moved out of Montreal because they weren’t drawing well, why are the Rays staying in Tampa when they’re winning and not drawing well?




Tampa Bay won’t support winning baseball.  




MLB Playoffs: Deserve’s Got Everything to Do With It

Here are the teams in the 2013 Major League Baseball Playoffs, ranked by how much they deserve to win the World Series.

In my opinion.  Which you clearly care about, since you’re reading this.

10. Boston Red Sox.  You know the question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Well, it’s time to ask the Red Sox, “When did you stop taking performance enhancing-drugs?” My guess is that the answer is “Never, we just know how to beat the system better now.”

9. Los Angeles Dodgers.  They would be dead last if not for the presence of The Scum.  Never forget the Treason of ’57.  Also, I need to know that there was a real reason that the Yankees didn’t win the Pennant from 1982 to 1995, and again from 2004 to 2007.  Especially since the Dodgers and their manager rebounded tremendously (and without their best player, the injured Matt Kemp) since I wrote this in June.

8. Atlanta Braves.  They haven’t won a Pennant since 1999 or a World Series in 1995.  They are baseball’s great underachievers.  What’s more, their fans are mostly Southern redneck Teabaggers who cheered when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 got gutted by the Supreme Court.

7. Tampa Bay Rays.  Maybe the team deserves it.  The fans don’t.  They averaged 18,645 per game.  Dead last.  And 54.7 percent of stadium capacity.  To put it in perspective: Across the State of Florida, the Miami Marlins averaged 9,000 more fans per game — and they won 30 fewer games than the Rays, and the fans knew it was going to be an awful season.  So why didn’t the Rays’ fans, who are now used to a winner, come out? It can’t just be the fact that they have the most ridiculous stadium in MLB.  (Maybe not the worst — more on that in a moment — but definitely the most ridiculous.)

6. St. Louis Cardinals.  Won the Series in 2006 and 2011, got to the NLCS last year, and won another Pennant in 2004.  They don’t need this.  Although they would like to prove they can win a Pennant without Albert Pujols, something they haven’t done since 1987.

5. Oakland Athletics.  I wouldn’t object much to them winning, and it would give the San Francisco Bay Area 3 of the last 4 World Championships.  Plus, they haven’t won a postseason series since 2006, and only that one since 1990, their last Pennant.  They haven’t won a World Series since 1989.  On the other hand, they’re trying to blackmail the taxpayers to get the Oakland Coliseum replaced, and it may just be the worst stadium in the majors.  (As opposed to from 1968 to 1999, when they had the best stadium in the Bay Area, as the Giants were playing in Candlestick Park.) And if the A’s do win a Pennant, we’ll once again have to hear that Billy Beane is a genius.  If you’ve been a team’s general manager for 16 seasons and you haven’t won a Pennant, not only are you not a genius, but you probably should have been fired about 6 years ago.

4. Cincinnati Reds.  They haven’t won a World Series or a Pennant since 1990, or a postseason series since 1995, and they’re a great baseball town.  But they hired Dusty Baker as manager.  They did not learn the lesson — and by now, they should have — that Dusty is a great regular season manager, but he can’t win in the postseason.

3. Detroit Tigers.  They won the Pennant last year, reached the ALCS the year before, and won the Pennant in 2006 — but had to beat the Yankees all 3 times to do it, so that’s a mark against them.  On the other hand, they play the game the right way (as far as I can tell).  And Detroit, really the entire State of Michigan, needs this, as they’re stuck with an economy that still hasn’t recovered from the batterings they took in the recession of the mid-1970s, let alone the ones since, hindered by their Teabag Governor Rick Snyder.  And the Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984.  I have no problem with them winning it.

2. Cleveland Indians.  A surprise Wild Card team, having been terrible after their near-miss for the Pennant in 2007.  They haven’t won a Pennant since 1997, or a World Series since 1948, 2nd-longest among current teams behind the Chicago Cubs, and 2nd-longest among current cities behind Washington (which didn’t even have a team from 1972 to 2004).  What else does Northern Ohio have to cheer for? The Cavaliers stink.  Ohio State isn’t all that close to Cleveland, and they’re still under the Jim Tressel cloud anyway.  There’s no hockey team.  The Browns have improved, but the fans will need a few more weeks before they can take that seriously.  (They’re sure enjoying the bad start by the Steelers, though.) The Cleveland market needs this.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates.  They hadn’t reached the postseason since 1992, and having won a postseason series, let alone a Pennant or a World Series, since 1979.  And with the Steelers getting off to an 0-4 start, and the Penguins putting goalie Tomas Vokoun on injured reserve, Western Pennsylvania really needs a winner.  Downside? The only one I can see is that people who hate the Yankees will bring up the “payroll” argument again, plus reminding us that the Bucs have A.J. Burnett, Russell Martin and — ugh — Kyle Farnsworth.  Well, so what.

Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland is a big rivalry in football, but it’s not even possible in the NBA (Pittsburgh doesn’t have a team in it) or the NHL (Cleveland doesn’t, and Pittsburgh vs. Columbus is not a substitute).  I wonder what a Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland World Series would be like.  It’s never happened — indeed, only once has it even come close, in 1908, when both teams finished just a game out of 1st.