City Paper is not for tourists
A capacity crowd showed up on opening night to see the Washington Nationals win a thrilling game.
Ever since, locals have gone back to doing what they have done for decades—essentially ignoring Major League Baseball. Confirmation of this unsurprising phenomenon comes via the Washington Post‘s Sports page this morning. Turns out that the Nats had an enormous attendance dropoff from stadium opener to second home game. Check out this excerpt from the story:
Since 1992, when Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards began a renaissance period for new ballparks, 16 existing franchises have moved into new facilities. None has drawn a smaller crowd for its second home game than the Nationals.
Despite all the “excitement” over the new ballpark, the team is 20th out of 30 MLB teams in attendance this year. Sports biz analysts say winning would help—the team is now 4-9—and certainly that’s true. Still, it’s early in the season—too early for fans to bail as they have on the Nats and their 41,888-seat stadium.
I’m giving the owners seven to nine years to come to grips with the futility of a D.C.-based MLB franchise. Then another few years to grapple with the league commissioner and others about moving or selling out. By 2020, we’ll be back to where we were in 1972.