As the Nats begin their final home series of the season tonight, LL felt it might be instructive to have a gander at the current attendance numbers for the inaugural year of Nationals Park.

Compared to the inaugural years of recent major league ballparks, they don’t look good.

Right now, according to ESPN.com, the Nats have drawn 2,276,444 paid ticketholders. The closest recent competition is the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, which drew 2,355,259 fans for its 2003 inaugural year. That’s 29,077 fans per game over an 81-game home schedule.

What are the chances that the Nats break the Reds’ mark? It’s looking pretty good. To draw 2,355,260, the Nats will have to get 78,816 folks to pay for tickets over the next three days. Against the Marlins. That’s 26,272 per game.

During the seven games thus far in the current homestand, the Nats have averaged 26,162, which gives them a fighting chance. But maybe not: Three of those were weekend games, which each attracted over 27,000. If you average the mid-week draws from last week, you get only 25,147.

If the Nats break the Reds’ mark of infamy, you have to go all the way back to the 1982 Minnesota Twins (ignoring strike-shortened 1994), and their first year in the infernal Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, to find a more futile new-stadium attendance record. That year, the Twins, losers of 102 games, couldn’t even attract a million fans.

Since then, there have been 23 seasons played by teams in new stadiums. Check the table after the jump.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

1982 MIN 921,186 60-102
1989 TOR 3,375,883 89-73*
1991 CHW 2,934,154 87-75
1992 BAL 3,567,819 89-73
1993 FLA 3,064,847 64-98 (exp.)
1993 COL 4,483,350 67-95 (exp.)
1994 CLE 1,995,174 66-47 (strike)
1994 TEX 2,503,198 52-62 (strike)
1995 COL 3,390,037 77-67
1997 ATL 3,464,488 101-61*
1998 TBY 2,506,293 63-99 (exp.)
1998 ARI 3,610,290 65-97 (exp.)
2000 SEA 2,914,624 91-71*
2000 SF 3,318,800 97-65*
2000 HOU 3,056,139 72-90
2000 DET 2,438,617 79-83
2001 MIL 2,811,041 68-94
2001 PIT 2,464,870 62-100
2003 CIN 2,355,259 69-93
2004 SD 3,016,752 87-75
2004 PHI 3,250,092 86-76
2005 WAS 2,731,993 81-81 (rel.)
2006 STL 3,407,104 83-78*
2008 WAS 2,276,444 58-98

* made the playoffs. All stats from baseball-reference.com