Nationals Attendance Watch

Anytime there's a subscription only website, I'm loathe to copy and paste large excerpts of their articles. I'm going to do that here.

So let me get this out of the way. If you love baseball, and I mean really love it, there is no excuse for you not to have a subscription to Baseball Prospectus. It's only $40 a year and it's worth every penny.

The good folks over at Baseball Prospectus have finally taken notice of the Nationals' attendance woes. They are very real. In fact, they are almost unprecedented.

Opening Night against the Braves produced a sellout--although the listed attendance of 39,389 was less than the official 41,000 capacity of the new stadium--and the fans were treated to a walk-off home run from Ryan Zimmerman. Upon returning home after a road trip, however, the Nationals averaged just 26,351 fans over their first homestand, a six-game affair. That included a 20,487 night in the second game at Nationals Park, which represented the second-largest drop-off from game one attendance in a new park to game two in the 21 stadiums that opened in the past 20 years:

Year Team New Park Game 1 Game 2 Diff.

1997 Braves Turner Field 45,044 45,698 + 644
1993 Marlins Joe Robbie Stadium 42,334 42,689 + 355
2004 Padres Petco Park 41,400 41,625 + 225
2000 Giants PacBell Park 40,930 40,390 - 540
1994 Rangers Ballpark at Arlington 46,056 45,455 - 601
2006 Cardinals Busch Stadium 41,936 40,648 - 1,288
1999 Mariners Safeco Field 44,607 43,252 - 1,355
2001 Brewers Miller Park 42,024 40,651 - 1,373
1992 Orioles Camden Yards 44,568 42,870 - 1,698
2001 Pirates PNC Park 36,954 35,045 - 1,909
2000 Astros Enron Field 41,583 39,018 - 2,565
1989 Blue Jays Skydome 48,378 45,520 - 2,858
1998 Diamondbacks Bank One Ballpark 47,484 43,758 - 3,726
2004 Phillies Citizens Bank Park 41,626 37,512 - 4,114
1992 White Sox Comiskey Field 42,191 36,420 - 5,771
1994 Indians Jacobs Field 41,459 34,087 - 7,372
1995 Rockies Coors Field 47,228 38,087 - 9,141
1993 Rockies Mile High Stadium 80,227 65,261 -14,966
1998 Devil Rays Tropicana Field 45,369 30,109 -15,260
2008 Nationals Nationals Park 39,389 20,487 -18,902

2003 Reds Great American Ballpark 42,343 22,878 -19,465

The Nationals have something of an excuse, given that Major League Baseball scheduled their home opener as an isolated game to start the season. The Nationals immediately traveled to Philadelphia afterwards, and so did not have the continuity of an opening series to aid attendance--something the Reds cannot similarly cite to save face. That doesn't excuse Washington, of course, especially considering that concerns attendance [sic] formed part of the reason for the failure of the city's first and second iterations of the Senators. If the fans can't come out tonight to watch their squad take on the division favorite and the best pitcher in baseball, then something is indeed amiss in our nation's capital.

Right there with you, Mr. Baseball Writer (Caleb Peiffer). Something is very much amiss. Temperature, pricing, and the Nats being so shitty are all valid excuses. But none of it excuses the city for not being able to support a baseball team. Why can't Nats boosters accept that this area, despite the large population, can't won't support a large market team? The people here just don't care.

Don't believe me? Try watching a Nats home game on television. The seats behind home plate - the best seats in the house - are consistently empty. Even the guys shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars can't be bothered.

So what's the over-under on today's attendance? My guess is 26,000 or so. Most of them will be Mets fans.

(Since I'm presumptuously dancing on the grave of DC baseball, let me remind you that I'm doing my part. I'm going to games and I'm rooting for the Nationals as loudly as I can. I want baseball here. I'm just not blind. It isn't working and the city is going to be left with the tab and the shame of being a minor league town.)

UPDATE: God damn it, Blogger. I know the table is coming up all squiggly. I have no idea how to fix it.


  1. lack of response = case in point?

  2. "If you love baseball, and I mean really love it"... I have to wonder what else is wrong with you.

  3. DC Mets FanApril 24, 2008

    I went last night because I am a Mets fan and will only go back for Mets games. With two outs in the 9th with the game all but over we stood along the railing near the Red Porch to watch the last out because it is close to the gate to get to the Metro. Within a minute an usher told us we couldn't stand there because we didn't have tickets for the section. This while there were 5,000 people in the park and most were Mets fans because Nats fans, like Dodger fans, head for the hills after Take Me Out to the Ballgame

  4. The Redskins are the only game in town, and if they played more than 8 games at home, they would also have attendence problems. Thing is, DC is so transient. So much of our population is from somwhere else.

    I will only go see the Nats if they play the Twins, and I won't be rooting for the Nats, knowudimean? The only home team I root for and whose games I attend regularly are the Caps, and that is only because the North Stars went to Dallas.

  5. And the population that isn't transient can't afford the tickets.

  6. You're way off - attendance was 32,780 - most were not mets fans (although there were many)

    I'm a Nats fan and I stayed to the bitter end.

    I agree w/ much of what you say about the new stadium and the lack of Nats support, but let's give it a little time before we begin drafting eulogies.

  7. Where are all the fans, you ask? All still stuck on the Metro.

  8. They just need to bring down the prices. If I could get drunk at the park for $20 I might consider going, but for the money I spend on one game I could have a great dinner with real drinks at a decent place.

  9. DC just needs to accept that it is a second class city that can't support first rate things that a normal city can.

  10. The disgusting thing about Nationals games is that the best seats behind home plate are virtually empty; I have never seen that before! DC's wealthiest denizens are crappy baseball fans; heck, they're also crappy human beings!

  11. Let's give it a little more time before we call it dead. Keep in mind that at the same time the Nationals debuted, the Wizards and Caps were both in the playoffs.....so Washingtonians' attention may have been diverted. There are only so many free hours in a week for most working people, so if they had to make a choice, maybe they chose to catch the Caps or Wiz instead. Just a thought.

  12. Nats have the 2nd worst record in the league and the game is sold out tonight. upper deckers for $50 on ebay. can we please just abolish this blog?

  13. Seats behind home are empty cause of pricing. The learners are leaches, and the sooner this blows up in their face, the better.

    At RFK, I had season tickets right behind home plate for each of the 3 seasons. I was in the lower level, about 20 rows up, on the aisle to the first base side immediatly behind home plate.

    Cost of tickets: $35 a seat and everyone was filled every game.

    When they moved, we thought we'd get shafted on the price - perhaps $50 or $60 a seat, maybe even $70. But in our wildest nightmare, we could never have envisioned the team raising the price tag on its oldest customers, the first batch of season ticket holders to . . . . . .not $70 a ticket, not $100 a ticket . . . . not even $125 a ticket, but ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS A TICKET (yes, you got that right, $150 a ticket, or $300 a game for our two tickets).

    and thats why I, and it looks like most others, don't have season tickets this year.

    Learner is on the same level as the dark prince of the Potomac, Daniel Snyder, in my book - and thats a pretty tough level to achieve.

  14. Even with low attendance, the Nats wont leave DC anytime soon because of a little thing called revenue sharing. BTW there were about 35,000 there tonight when the Nats were facing a good team on a balmy friday night.Quit your muckracking

  15. again with this? if you think baseball is leaving dc, you are seriously retarded. where would the franchise go? portland? OK City? have you forgotten what a fucking ordeal it was for mlb to force a team in dc, against the wishes of angelos? maybe if you had a clue instead of just looking for dumb ass reasons to post this dumb shit you wouldn't look like such an ignorant fuck.

    i also hate the nats and coudnt give a shit if they leave, but this is utter stupidity.

  16. p.s. Ken writes erotic harry potter fanfiction.

    From his blog Hairy Pooter:

    "It’s another boring summer and Hairy wonders why he now has hair where there was no hair before. He asks his neighbor Areola Fagg what the extra hair is for and the end up enmeshed together in an all night suck and fuck fest."

  17. In the meantime, Milwaukee has recorded 3 or 4 sellouts already. Go Brewers!

  18. all of you people who called rfk the worst thing since national health care cant even sell out a new ballpark.... i wish they had built the dang thing in virginia-where most of the fan base lives anyway...

  19. Since I became an Expos fan in 2000 during college, everything about this franchise has been ill-conceived and poorly planned (except for the demigod who is Vlad Guerrero - but he left). I'm glad to see now that I've moved inside the Beltway that they've continued the tradition. The front office is still clueless, leaving the team ill equipped for the job. The park is actually wonderful, which is made up for the fact that you have to wait half an hour just to get on the Metro platform when you leave. If they think they've given folks an incentive to come to games, I don't know what it is.

  20. AnonymousMay 02, 2008

    Rusty is a douche ....