Despite what the team announces nightly, attendance at Phillies games has been dwindling this season. Yes, they’re able to keep announcing sell-outs because of the tremendous amount of season ticket packages and pre-sale tickets sold before the season, but the fact is that fewer fans are coming through the gate every night at Citizens Bank Park. You don’t need to see any figures to prove this (which is good considering the Phillies would never release any,) you can tell by the large swaths of unoccupied seats at the ballpark on any given night.
And now that even the most optimistic of fans are (rightfully) giving up on the season, you can expect even fewer people to want to drop their hard-earned money at the ballpark to see a lame-duck team. Can you blame them? But the team is campaigning to keep your butts in the seats any way they can and, according to David Murphy of the Daily News, that includes having the players like Cole Hamels champion the cause:
I really hope that the fans keep coming to the ballgame … The sellout record is obviously something you want to keep intact, especially because next year you know we are going to keep fighting, so if you can kind of stick with it for 2 months or however many home games we have, just try to be positive, because hopefully we can continue something. If you look down the road 30, 40 years from now, you can say, hey, we had 400 or 500 or 600 sellout days, and that’s something to say about the fans and the city.
Oh Cole, you’re coming on a little strong, don’t you think? That said, there are over 3,000 tickets available on StubHub for tonight’s tilt against the D’backs and they start as low as $3. Wow.
Meanwhile, the LA Times tried to defend Dodgers fans’ reputation as front-runners by posting an item the other day calling Phillies fans the most fickle in the sport. To quantify that, they compared the attendance figures of teams in their last winning and losing seasons and discovered the Phillies have the biggest disparity between the two at 24,958 more fans per game in 2011 (.630 winning percentage) than in 2002 (.497 WP).
On the surface, that seems like a pretty fair parallel to draw. Except it’s bullshit.
First off, they don’t say which years’ data they use, only the “last full winning and losing season[s]“. If you do the math using ’11 and ’02, you don’t even get 24,958. In 2002, the Phils drew 1,618,467 fans over 80 games, or an average of 20,231 fans per game. In 2011, 3,680,718 people came to 81 games for an average of 45,441. That’s a difference of 25,210, not 24,958. Maybe I’m picking nits, but if you’re going to use numbers, you should at least use the correct numbers.
Secondly, they’re comparing attendance figures from Veteran’s Stadium to attendance figures at Citizens Bank Park. If you pick out the worst year since the team started playing at CBP, you get a wildly different result.
In 2006, the Phillies finished 4 games over .500 at 85-77 (.525 WP) and drew 2,701,815 total fans, good for 33,356 fans per game. And while there’s still a significant difference between attendance figures in 2011 and 2006, it sort of shoots a hole in the LA Times’ theory that bad baseball keeps Phillies fans away. It implies, to me, that the Vet was a depressing dump by the end of its life cycle.