• May

    O's attendance woes understandable

    The Orioles drew around 11,561 fans last night after drawing 11,485 the night before. You can make all the excuses in the world (it was a weekday night, the kids are still in school, the kids have their own baseball/lacrosse/soccer/softball games, etc.), but it doesn’t change the fact that last night’s game was the worst attended game in major league baseball. Small cities like Minnesota (38,938), Milwaukee (25,652) and Cleveland (17,741) outdrew the Orioles as well as traditionally poorly attended Florida (18, 504) and Pittsburgh (12,910), which is the only team that has lost in more consecutive years than the O’s.

    Hangout poster Dipper9  brought up some good points:  “Gas is over $4 a gallon, the economy sucks, money is tight, the games are all shown in crystal clear HD in the comfort of your own home, and oh yeah, we haven't had a winner in 13 years,” before adding sarcastically “Other than that, I don't see any reason not to go to the games.”

    For me, it all comes down the fact the Orioles have lost for 13 straight years and the current team destroyed the casual fan’s attention with their poor uninspiring play so far this season. Not having a winner for 13 years is huge. Whole generations of Baltimore area kids don’t seem to care about the Orioles and that's going to continue to hurt for years. My own 14-year old son turned down a chance to sit in 72 degree weather in box seats this past weekend because he just doesn't really care that much about the Orioles (good thing he didn't go because we lost 8-2). The fan base started buzzing this off season following the last two and half months of great baseball under Showalter. When the Orioles got off to the 6-1 start people were buzzing around the water coolers and suddenly it seemed cool to talk Orioles again. Then, like clockwork, the Orioles ripped off an 8-game losing streak, all of the off season acquisitions have started off slow (minus Hardy who was injured almost right away), the three most popular Orioles Roberts, Markakis and Wieters all are underperforming offensively, Matusz has been hurt, and besides Britton, who is the average fan excited to see in the rotation?

    By stumbling so badly since the 6-1 start, the Orioles have destroyed the good will they built up with their casual fan base. Even the diehards are using the other excuses mentioned by Dipper9 and really, who can blame them? The Orioles have rarely entertained their fans this season with a ridiculously under-performing offense, a bullpen that has struggled at some key times, and a rotation that has been solid if unspectacular.

    This doesn't mean they can't or won't get better, but for me, it's pretty easy to understand the attendance woes, even on a gorgeous night like last night. The only thing that will change the Orioles' attendance issues is sustained winning, and unfortunately, this team has yet to show they can get on any kind of roll.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.