Tag Archive | "Attendance"


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Ten observations on why Baltimore sports fans aren’t going to Orioles games

Posted on 15 September 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

My story and history with Peter G. Angelos is pretty well told. There are many “insider observations” that I know and have lived that shall remain private for now but it’s pretty obvious that I’m a journalist who has been intimidated and lied to by them for so long now – and in so many ways – that it could only make sense to someone who has witnessed the past few months of this presidential race.

If you’re one of the low information people who think it’s “no big deal” or justified to ban any legitimate media member who asks fair questions and has the accountability and public availability that I’ve had in the Baltimore sports media marketplace for 25 years, then you should simply move on because you’re the type that doesn’t want to deal with the facts. Your bar is lower than it should be.

I promised some fair thoughts today on why YOU and many other citizens of Maryland and fans of the Baltimore Orioles don’t go to the games as regularly as perhaps you once did. I wrote a blog earlier this week about why I don’t go to games and actively give Peter G. Angelos my money.

So if the question is: “Why are there so many empty seats at Camden Yards for Orioles baseball games in height of pennant race?”

Consider these mostly global thoughts:

1. Washington has a baseball team. This was the worst nightmare of Peter G. Angelos. When he sat with me in 1997 (and mostly lied to me), he also predicted that if D.C. got a team it would “split” the fanbase and make for two “mediocre” franchises (back when attendance mattered more than the siphoning of cable TV revenue).


Those fans south of Laurel who love the Nationals are long, long gone. And they’re not coming back. And there are a LOT of them.

2.People simply have other things to do and other interests. Kids sports leagues. Various other sports and hobbies and passions. Family issues. Work. Church. Civic Issues. Festivals. The beach. Pokemon? The world has changed since 1966 when the Baltimore Orioles had a summer monopoly on civic pride and evening stoop soap opera. Peter Angelos is competing with anything and everything inside your mobile device. He’s not #winning your hearts.

3.It ain’t cheap. And it ain’t as cheap as it used to be. Tickets are easy to get but not so cheap as to not make it a decision. My wife and I want to go next Thursday night for the final game of David Ortiz. (She’s a Red Sox fan. This is pretty well documented.)       boston-day-4-25 The whole process feels like I’m waiting out a stock because the “get ins” on the roof are $18. If the game matters, perhaps demand will sky rocket and everyone will want to be there. But, the Orioles could also be five games out and fighting for their lives. I buy from the secondary market whenever I do go and it’s a weird market. It’s also clear they’re spreading out the sales of the seats to make the bowl look more full and manipulating them on Stubhub. The jacking up of prices for key games – while industry standard – is a tacky business move and hasn’t just backfired here in Baltimore. The elimination of discount nights smacks of another greedy Angelos idea. And the beer and concession prices – and the quality of the food – speaks for itself. Not to be a dick – but where in life is there a more expensive and generally crappy decision than buying food at a sporting event than at an arena, theatre or stadium? We’re all kinda blind to it but there’s nowhere else on the planet you feel comfortable paying $12 for a draft beer, $10 for leathery chicken tenders or $8 for a cold hot dog or $4.50 for a bottle of water. It’s obscene – but acceptable in America. But, still…not cheap. There are many folks who would love to go an Orioles game who simply can’t afford to go more than once a month or once a season. From the tickets, the parking, the concessions and the time invested, it’s just not a cheap night out for the family or even a date. It’s a decision made with your wallet as much as your heart. Meanwhile, the place sits empty most nights. MORE…


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Hey Orioles: Those empty seats mean that Baltimore is just not that into you…

Posted on 13 September 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

As the first – and only – local sports journalist to poke the bear and pull down the pants of the emperor, it’s now my turn to chime in on the biggest local sports story this month that’s returning to Camden Yards for the next 11 days.

Ok, the most important question in the land of pleasant living at this time of the year is always about the Baltimore Ravens. Facts are facts. They’re 1-0 and headed to Cleveland to (presumably) be 2-0 by Sunday night.

But the very obvious other “water cooler buzz” around our kingdom is about why Camden Yards is so empty in September with the Orioles facing arch-rivals in the middle of a very winnable pennant race in Baltimore?


Two weeks ago, during the “homestand of empty” vs. the Blue Jays and Yankees, I was in Europe reading some laugh-out-loud reports from local “journalists” either on the payroll of Peter G. Angelos, the Baltimore Orioles or any of the MASN-based or CBS-owned arms of business partnerships that permeate the local media. Those organizations are strongly discouraged from critical thinking and free $peech so it’s up to places like WNST to get to the truth. Unlike their employees who are intimidated or “compensated” in the Angelos food chain, we get to say what we think here.

The employees of any of the above entities are not allowed to tell the truth. Angelos confirmed this to me years ago.

So, when you write pieces like the one longtime Washington journalist Thom Loverro inked two weeks ago in The Washington Times – in local sports writer vernacular, “a take down” – you get your press credentials revoked. And amongst those who do follow the Orioles and bow at the shrine of the orange cartoon bird, you get called a hack, a traitor or a guy with an axe to grind.

But, of course, no one at MASN or 105.7 The Fan or The Baltimore Sun or PressBox is ever called a shill – even though the dignity of the whole Orioles operation under Angelos is veiled by the fact that no one ever answers a question about anything. Other than playing baseball games when they’ve locked the doors and told the fans to NOT come, we don’t hear from the Angelos clan.

Loverro and his track record as a reporter speaks for itself. So does mine.

On December 13th, I’ll celebrate 25 years of doing sports radio in Baltimore. In 20 of those years, the Orioles haven’t just been an “also ran” – they’ve been a “never ran at all.” The reasons have all been well- …

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Filling Oriole Park Has Nothing To Do With Fans

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

This is a great time to be an Orioles fan. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the absence of expectations coupled with the success of this team has created a perfect storm of circumstance that’ll make this (regardless of the way that it ends) likely the most exciting season of Orioles baseball since 1989 at least. And given that it took 14 years of futility to sap this fan base of its enthusiasm and optimism we can only hope that another season like this will never happen again.

That said, the excitement that is Orioles baseball 2012 hasn’t seemed to get the turnstiles at the stadium moving, at least not to the degree that many would have expected so far. That’s led to a spirited debate about what can and should be done to get back the fans as well as a number of divergent theories about what’s keeping them away now despite the successes of the team to date.


So, for what it’s worth…here’s mine:


The first and easiest reason why fans aren’t flocking to the ballpark right now is because they can.


On any given night, it’s easy to head to the ballpark without planning or preparation, pick up tickets for any seat in the house and enjoy the show. Therefore, there’s simply no urgency about having to do it today. For as long as that remains the case, fans will take to the ballpark whenever they’re good and ready and so far they just haven’t been ready.


While many expected that winning would bring back the fans, expecting it to happen overnight was just wrong. It’s my best guess that if the excitement of this season is going to get more folks out to the park, the real impact won’t be felt until next year with the purchase of new season tickets. My other best guess, and the tougher pill for fans to swallow is that this won’t happen by the team appeasing or satisfying the “regular fans”. As ticket selling priorities go, “regular fans” are and will remain at the bottom of the pecking order. If the Orioles are able to take care of the top end of that pecking order, the regular fans will simply fall back into line because they’ll have little choice.


Think for a second about why or how Oriole Park ever sold out regularly in the first place. Think about why or how any Major League ballpark sells out regularly. It starts with a firm base of season tickets sold. Since this season began with no expectation of success or of ticket scarcity, it stands to reason that there wasn’t a whole lot of urgency for anyone to buy or renew their season tickets. No reason, that is, except to avoid the game day surcharge.


Without getting off on too much of a tangent here, this is also why the surcharge is viewed by the team, as a necessary evil. We’ve already established that on any given night a fan can show up on a whim and buy pretty much any seat in the house. Therefore why would fans ever buy any tickets in advance, much less commit to 13, 26, 81 or some other fixed number of games in a season ticket package when they can simply show up and buy tickets whenever they want?


Thursday September 13th against the Rays looks to me like a nice day to take in a ballgame. But if I buy those tickets today, and my wife winds up sick, or it rains on September 13th, I’m stuck with them. If Wei-Yin Chen is pitching against David Price on the 12th, I might rather go to that game instead. If I can wait until the day of the game to decide, there’s no reason to buy in advance except to avoid the surcharge, there are however plenty of good reasons not to buy in advance.

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Lets Get This Attendance Up!

Posted on 30 June 2012 by scottzolotorow

After a big win for the Birds last night against Cleveland and a Yankees loss to the White Sox, the O’s are in sole possession of 2nd place in the American League East, baseball’s toughest division of the last 6 years as voted by Sports Illustrated. We are a full game and a half ahead of Tampa Bay and Boston and are tied for the sixth best record in the MLB with Cincinnati. Only the Yankees, Rangers, and Angels have better American League records than the Birds and yet the Orioles have the tenth worst average attendance in the league at 26,393. That number does indeed look a whole lot nicer then last years 21,943 which was 5th worst in baseball; only Kansas City, the then Florida Marlins, Kansas City, and Oakland had worst attendance numbers than the Orioles.

But, with a winning team and a top five ballpark in all of baseball, there is no reason that these attendance numbers shouldn’t climb into the top ten of Major League Baseball. So here are my top five reasons for fans to get out to the park this year.

Reason number five: American League East. Like every other Orioles fan I am sick of going to a Red Sox or Yankees game at Camden Yards and being outnumbered by their team’s fans. This year, Philadelphia Phillies fans also took over our beloved stadium with there “Chooooch” calls and “Lets go Phillies” chants. I want Orioles fans to always outnumber opposing fans. With that being said the only games close to sell outs with mostly Orioles fans in the seats were Opening Day and the Nationals series. Every time an American League East opponent comes into Baltimore, our fans should want to see these teams play. When Toronto comes into Charm City, you’ll get to see Jose Bautista, who leads baseball with 26 homeruns. When the Rays come, you are seeing a world series contender of the past five years. The same goes with Boston and the Yankees. These are good teams that fans should want to see their team beat, and the players would rather come out of the dugout and see 35,000+ fans cheering them on loudly.

Reason number four: Improved Pitching. Last season, the Orioles had the worst team ERA in baseball with a 4.89, and so far this season we are nearly a full point better at a 3.90. This has been largely in part of our bullpen’s ERA being the best in the baseball at 2.46. That number last year was 4th worst at 4.18. Buck Showalter and the Orioles management system has listened to everyone’s complaints about lack of pitching and turned the team around big time.

Reason number three: Sense of Pride. Orioles fans are only filling up 58% of Camden Yards, the 7th worst in Major league baseball. Our city sells out every Ravens game. Why can’t we have close to sell out crowds at Orioles games? The Orioles have the tenth cheapest ticket in baseball with an average price of  $23.83 per ticket. If you require a premium seat, no problem, the Orioles average the fourth cheapest premium seat; only Milwaukee, Colorado, and San Diego average cheaper in that category.

Reason number two: Offensive power. The Orioles are third in the Majors in home runs; only Toronto and the Yankees are ahead of the Birds. Anyone on the Orioles can put the ball out of the park as Xavier Avery proved last night. The Birds have five players with at least 10 home runs and Adam Jones is 8th in baseball with 19.

Reason number one: CONTENDERS. With the Orioles contending so far throughout the season, there is no reason that the fans aren’t flocking out to the Yard to watch this team play baseball every night. Now that the “it’s a school night excuse” can no longer be used, fans should be at games nightly to watch a team that is 8 games above .500. So head on out to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and help make this team a playoff caliber team, with playoff caliber fans!

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