The following is cross-posted from Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog.
After an opening day sellout with 34,078 fans, the Rays fell back to earth last night for Game Number 2: total attendance 15,599. Which, of course, prompted lots of tweets like this:
It’s easy to see how the Rays will have lots of nights like this and not much will change from last season. The Trop’s not any closer to Tampa. There’s no light rail option to the park. And the dome just isn’t seen as a “cool” place to hang out.
But it’s also easy to look at the cup half-full (if you so choose). It was a weekday night against the Orioles. It was raining and muggy in parts of Tampa Bay yesterday but crystal-clear and comfortable inside the Trop. And the Rays weren’t the only team, by any means, in the attendance doghouse yesterday.
The supposed new rivalry between Texas and Houston drew just 15,831 in the Astros’ modern park. The White Sox drew just 14,213 on a chilly, but sunny afternoon in the nation’s third-biggest metro. The A’s drew just 15,162 on a mild evening against Seattle. And even the Mets, in the country’s largest city, drew just 22,239 against the Padres.
Only three of 15 games yesterday were played in front of more than 28,000 fans, which tells us America may not quite be in the baseball mood yet in April. It may also tell us something Stu Sternberg hinted at this week: fans choosing baseball over TV may be something that’s “seeping to sport as a whole, that it just isn’t the kind of scene it once was.”
We’ll keep an eye on the Rays attendance numbers throughout the season … as well as the Marlins’, who haven’t scored a run yet in 2013, and open at home next Monday against the Braves. Can’t wait!