Let the Wringing of our Hands Warm Our Cooling Hearts

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reds.empty.jpgQuickly, dirtily, unscientifically, I'm going to make a statement: attendance is down in baseball. In some cities, like Cleveland, Baltimore, and Toronto, this is absolutely true. Anecdotally it seems true in at least a dozen other stadiums around the league. Beat writers flock to Twitter to proclaim "tonight's crowd is lowest in Stadium X's history" on a near-nightly basis. Poor attendance at major league baseball games is certainly a bad thing — especially if you own a professional baseball team or professional parking lot staffed by professional parking lot pointing-at-guys — but how about we all agree to stop using sparsely attended baseball games as indictments of residents and fans from entire regions of the country.

The next time YOUR CITY in the great state of YOUR STATE is deemed a "bad sports town" or "bush league" or "crippled by sweeping unemployment" let's try to resist the urge to use nearly-empty baseball stadia as proof the city is unfit for baseball or human occupation.

Consider the three cities listed above, among the stragglers in average attendance in 2010. No fancy pants ball parks, recent successes, nor Red Sox Nation invasions can fill the buildings early in the season. "But why?" the columns wail. How could the good people of Metropolis turn their back on the local nine? Why have real baseball fans eschewed a night at the old ball yard?

Most families aren't going to baseball games or NBA games or any such expensive outing. They're priced and corporate-cultured out in a tough economic time. Additionally, families now have a laundry list of classes, recitals, ultimate frisbee tournaments in far-flung suburbs and about a million others things to do on a Tuesday night in April beside watch Jake fucking Westbrook pitch to Lyle Overbay.

Expect to see more bros getting tazed than iced at the ballpark in the coming months; as clubs look to provide the whitewashed, sterile environment most likely to appeal to Mr. & Mrs. Helicopterparent's most paranoid instincts. Little Ethan and Abigail can't be withing vomitshot of drunken louts1 cursing loudly and carrying on.

1 - Keep them the hell away from Pittsburgh in August.


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18 Comments

Warning y'all now
have an ice in your pocket for the block or else

xoxo

Perhaps we can extend icing to the glories of baseball.

Say, for instance, bro ices you. You can then just proceed to call him "Javy Vazquez." Bro has 5 seconds to defend his manhood or he is forever labeled as having a vagina.

No one will ever be iced again.

Bros will always ice bros

@Drew
You are such a racist

I'm glad I'll have a few warmup trips to ice bros at before it gets completely out-of-hand in Pittsburgh.

This blog has seen a rise in anger, or passion, or outrage, or whatever these past few weeks.

And I gotta say, I really like it. Great stuff all over.

Rob better have literal deep pockets, because bro will be iced.

Calling my shot, bro.

Can a bro ice himself in this here bro-fest?

No self-resprecting Bro would voluntarily drink Smirnoff Ice. That is decidedly un-bro.

I can dig that.

Thine Iced Bro will never not be thine Iced Bro.

(I don't know what "thine" means.)

Ed is in danger of being excommunicated

Anecdotally it seems true in at least a dozen other stadiums around the league

If by "a dozen," you mean numbers are down in 26 out of 30 ballparks, then yes, that's accurate. However, Baltimore has actually grown in attendance (a whopping 3% over last year's average).

-3 teams - the Mets, Blue Jays, and Indians - are down 20% or more (The Injuns are down a whopping 37% y-t-y!)

-Only four teams - the Orioles, Phillies, Twins, and Giants - have increased attendance. Target Field is obviously the anomaly (up 31%). The other "positive" teams are up 1-3%, max.

Excommunication threats aside, I think I'd like to see a bro ice himself. I'm sure there's gotta be someone dumb enough to do that.

"Bro! I just got ICED!"

The Jays are way down BUT the new president of the club is determined to "restore the integrity of the ticket prices" by not giving them away and not letting swine like me wander around willy nilly.

Restoring the integrity of the ticket prices is a fine way to keep people at home. I'm of the opinion that when you have a low-demand product, you don't charge more for just because it's shitty and you need to make up for lack of sales. You lower your prices until you have a more desirable product (see: Phillies, Philadelphia). And if you never have a more desirable product, then you're probably not very good at managing that company or product in the first place.

Plus, what the hell is the difference between charging $18 for an upper deck seat or $11 for the same ticket? Doesn't the average ticketholder spend more than the $6 difference in concessions? And even if none of those new ticket buyers ate or drank a single item, wouldn't you still make more money selling 4,000 $11 tickets than you would 2,000 $18 tickets?

Erp. $18-$11 = $7, not $6.

Anyway, attendance was down 6% in 2009, also. That just so happens to be the median drop in 2010. But now people are paying attention because Toronto and Cleveland have a stranglehold on America's news media. GREAT LAKES BIAS

Can we agree that as an exception it's ok to denigrate the entire Tampa Bay region for failing to show up in any kind of reasonable numbers to see the most exciting team in baseball play?

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