Understanding that Cleveland Indians' attendance is a complicated problem, and that to a certain extent the horse is dying or dead already and beating it will do little to bolster this year's numbers... a little perspective never hurt anybody, right?
Bud Shaw had some key insights into the attendance issue earlier this month. In his PD story, he suggested that winning streaks — even extended stretches of outstanding baseball in which we win, say, 22 of 25 games — aren't enough to generate the type of long-term interest and season-ticket purchases necessary to sustain high attendance levels.
His key observation, though — and maybe this is so obvious that it doesn't bear repeating — was that Cleveland's record sellout streak in the 90s occurred just after the Browns left town. Fans had no choice but to flock to the Indians in the absence of football.
Season ticket purchases appear to be the key, the tide's baseline water mark. And we'll know more about the 2013 team's impact after 30 home games next season. But after the 30-home-game mark this year, here's where we stand.
MLB TEAMS WITH THE TEN WORST ATTENDANCE MARKS IN 2013
1. Cleveland Indians: 16,494
2. Miami Marlins: 17,811
3. Tampa Bay Rays: 18,124
4. Houston Astros: 18,243
5. Seattle Mariners: 20,522
6. Oakland Athletics: 20,560
7. Chicago White Sox: 21,678
8. Pittsburgh Pirates: 21,798
9. Kansas City Royals - 22,015
10. San Diego Padres - 25,380
Difference between last-place Cleveland and second-to-last place Miami
(That means that there are 1,317 more people in Miami, Florida, who go see the worst team in baseball every single night than there are in Cleveland).
Cleveland Attendance after 30 games last year
2012-2013 Difference per game
(That means that this year, with an emboldened offense, a high-profile new coach, a reborn pitching staff, and four-dollar beers, 252 less people are going to see the Tribe every single game.)
Additionally, after 55 total games, the Indians have hit 69 home runs. That's good for 3rd place among 15 American League teams. That's more than half of our home run output in 2012, when we hit 136 and ranked 12th among 14 AL clubs.
1) The Indians are better are baseball this year.
2) The Indians are certainly hitting more home runs this year.
3) The Indians management made key acquisitions in the off-season to make the club better/more watchable: Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds...even Brett Myers.
4) Progressive Field has Sugardale Dollar Dog Nights virtually every Friday home game and four-dollar beers all season long.
Unanswered season ticket questions notwithstanding, WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYBODY???