Did you go to the ballpark on Monday night? Neither did anyone else…

August 28, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Did you go to the ballpark on Monday night?  Neither did anyone else…

I went to Oriole Park on Monday night and a Blast/San Diego Sockers game from 1983 broke out.

Yep, 11,000 people braved the elements last night to enjoy the first game of a huge 4-game series with the Chicago White Sox.

At one point I thought Juli Veee and Joey Fink were going to come out on the field.

Less than 1,000 fans “walked up” for Monday night’s thriller with the White Sox. More people walk up to see Johns Hopkins play Princeton in lacrosse on a windy, chilly Saturday afternoon in March at Homewood.

I sat in three different places on Monday evening.  I started out in the upper deck, positioned high above eventual hero Nate McLouth.  I surveyed the crowd as first pitch approached and surmised there might have been 8,000 people in the stadium as Wei-Yin Chen strolled to the mound just before 7:05 pm.  Later, I ventured into the press box to do a little work and watched a few innings from there before eventually heading down to join a friend in Section 12.

No matter where I sat, the same thought struck me every inning.

“This is so sad…”

I’m not lashing out at anyone, here.  I wrote THIS PIECE last week about what the Orioles should be doing to help bring people back to the ballpark for the final month or so of the regular season.  I’m not mad at the Orioles because only 11,000 fans attended Monday’s game.  If they’re not interested in thinking outside-the-box to avoid embarrassing crowds like the one last night, I have no reason to be pissed off with them.  It’s their money they’re losing, not mine.

And I’m not mad at the fans.  They’re clearly still in wait-and-see mode.  Just because the team hasn’t played a game that matters since 1997 doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has to flock back en masse for a late August game against the White Sox with first place in the A.L. East well within the Orioles’ grasp.

I’m not mad.

Just sad…

I read a few lame excuses on Twitter last night.  ”Today was the first day of school…” was the most popular one.  Oh, that’s right, I forgot…everyone in Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs is completely influenced by the start of school.  (They’re not?  Tell that to the excuse makers.)  ”It’s Monday night” was another excuse I came across quite a bit.  And tonight when 15,000 are there, what do we say then?  ”It’s Tuesday night, crowds are never good on Tuesday night.”

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21 Comments For This Post

  1. John West Says:

    Drew,
    This is the logical result to the Orioles plan over the last 15 years. The very plan that you, and Nestor and wnst have been calling out as absurd since the plan began.
    When you treat fans like the Orioles have treated fans for 15 years, how is any other result expected?
    I divorced the Orioles last year. I didn’t like being the only one who cared in my relationship with my baseball team. Now that they are winning and in a playoff race with meaning baseball coming in September, it isn’t surprising to see many other people have left the Orioles as well. And I’m past sad.
    I’m Done.

  2. justafan Says:

    Although assurances were given that the make shift auto racing venue would not interfere with activities in downtown Baltimore, after last years experience, people aren’t convinced. It would not be surprising if the attendance remains low for the remainder of the White Sox series. And as for your references to Navy football and the Towson-Delaware rivalry, Navy averages close to 30,000 fans a game even with their relatively weak home schedule. If the Towson- Delaware game is played in Newark, the game will draw close to 20,000 fans. Of course, it goes without saying that this would not be the case when the game is played at the “U” due to it’s limited seating capacity.

  3. John Novak Says:

    Gary Thorne made reference to the low attendance last night for a “playoff type” game as he put it.

    I hope the players understand why – all of the reasons that you have documented in past blogs. It’s a shame because we finally have a team that plays with heart and truly cares about winning.

    Time for the Orioles marketing department to come up with something to help fill the stands – quite the 14 year mountain to climb…

  4. Chuck Says:

    It’s time to stop blaming the owner and support this team. These guys are busting their butts and deserve an appreciative fan base. Cmon people stop making excuses and get out to the games. In case you haven’t noticed they are playing some great baseball right now.

  5. GlenW Says:

    Fans need to show up. This team is in the hunt for the wildcard, maybe even the division!
    Further, the Orioles front office should be panicking. The best team in 15 years and no one is noticing. The Orioles could be on national TV soon, and have more empty seats than full ones.

  6. John in Westminster Says:

    OK. So we are supposed to turn on a relative dime and rush out to the ballpark and support a business which didn’t serve its customers for over 14 years? Really?

  7. Over40Don Says:

    The front office doesn’t want big crowds. They have years of experience in having a minimal workforce other than big promotions and Yankee/ Redsox games. TV money pays bills and makes a profit the rest is gravey. Low attendance equal easy logistics. The front office has it down to a science and can blame the “haters” for the #’s while laughing to the bank liking the way things are.

  8. Adam Says:

    Last Monday,, the Nationals drew 20,000 for their game against the Braves. The Orioles have lost a large chunk of fans to DC and have also just had fans quit on baseball. The Nats having the best record in the majors definitely hurts the Orioles, irregardless of how good the team does.

  9. Chuck Says:

    Perhaps Baltimore is just not a very good sports town. The city has no NHL team, no NBA team and lost one of the greatest franchises in NFL history to a third-tier town because attendance was poor.

    The Sacramento Kings are considering relocating to VA Beach…yes, VA Beach and not Baltimore. And VA Beach does not even have an NBA-level facility.

    One wonders how full M&T Bank stadium would be on Sundays if the team ever entered a three or four-year period of mediocrity.

  10. Thom from Dundalk Says:

    What a bunch of whiners !!! Heh, if you still don;t believe this is a special team and don’t go to the games, tough SH*T !! We ARE getting some airtime after games like last night. I think other teams DON’T want to play the O’s right now. How frustrating can it be for teams that think they’re good to be cruising along and then BLAM !! they get bombed in the 8th and loose. Sweet !!!

  11. bill Says:

    I have bad breath. My co-workers have complained about it. What should I do to fix it?

  12. sal Says:

    drew looks like john kruk. go os

  13. Bill Says:

    Whaaaaaahaa. Peter Angeloes Whaannnaaa. I won’t go to one more game until he’s not the owner. Ravens good. Orioles bad. Give it a rest. we have not had a good owner here since 1979. Edward Bennet Williams wanted to move the team to DC for years and chased Eddie Murray out. Eli Jacobs was so cheap we could’t even spell the word scout let alone get anyone good. People need to get over it. The ravens screwed Westmister and letft that town poor. But I don’t hear anyone saying I’m done with the ravens. This team is playing the type of baseball this city should be proud of, but all people want to do is scratch themselves and say Angeloes didn’t play nice with them.

  14. Timmy Says:

    Can we please keep Bob from Parkville and his racists, offensive beliefs off the air? That man has an agenda, as on display over at WCBM when he calls in. I don’t want to hear about Bob’s politics on a sports talk station too.

  15. Bill 2 Says:

    I think it is just proof that winning does not cure everything. The O’s have been alienating fans for over a decade now. Little by little that have chipped away at the fan base year after year in an effort to raise revenue. You hate to constantly compare them to the Ravens, but you have a stark contrast in what you should be doing as an organization and what you should not be doing as organization. The lack of attendance has nothing to do with Baltimore being a bad sports town as Chuck says. Baltimore has had two terrible owners in Angelos and Irsay who alienated the fans. I think Baltimore fans are incredibly loyal. Treat them right and they will show up, look at the Ravens. Treat them wrong, and well, they don’t show up. Doesn’t that hold true for any business?? Treat your customers right and they will overpay for your services. Its just that simple. Producing a winning team is just one step for the Orioles to increase attendance. Treating the fans like they are welcome and wanted is the next step and one that is far more important than winning.

  16. Mike from Carney Says:

    Shouldn’t the Grand Prix racing keep fans from the stadium. I heard a good chunk of downtown is not accessible. Kind of a pain getting downtown. Wait till September.

  17. Carl Says:

    15 years is a really really long time Drew.
    Think about this…if you’re 21 years old, you literally have no recollection of an Orioles winning season. We have an ENTIRE generation of Baltimoreans who have no allegiance, nor care about the Orioles.
    Perhaps by offering free tickets to anyone 18 years or younger, they might begin to fill the seats.

  18. BudIce05 Says:

    I love the city of Baltimore and consider it my second home town but it always has been a glass half empty town. Pathetic ownership aside, this has been a long time coming for O’s fans on what is a very likable team and manager so start filling up the seats, the price of tixs at Camden Yards are pretty affordable compared to other MLB Cities. This weekend will be one of the most important set of games since I nearly put my foot in the TV after Armando Benetiz served up that Gopher ball to Tony Fernandez in Game 6 of the ’97 ALCS. I hope CY is not half filled + with Yankee Fans. I have to deal with plenty of them where I live!

  19. Robert Says:

    Drew:

    As i stated on air to you & many times off-air with friends & colleagues, the same-day surcharge is a burr under my saddle that further festers each game the policy remains in effect. Add a premium game surcharge to the equation & it’s worse yet.place. Until this policy is permanently reversed & the O’s brass do a mea culpa, I have no interest in wasting my precious non-work hours on our baseball team; far too many other more enjoyable & rewarding ways to spend my time & money then waste it on an organization so seemingly indifferent or worse, hostile to my patronage. As you stated very sad indeed, but as the Bible says “so as ye sew, so shall ye reap. I’ll be shocked if the team sells out a playoff wild card game & although it may be schadenfreude, the way I figure it, the O’s brass is getting a well-deserved & long overdue comeuppance. Cheers, but not to P.A. & the MBA’s in the front office.

  20. tsnamm Says:

    I don’t think this is a Baltimore only thing…a previous poster on one of your blogs pointed out that the O’s attendance is better than last year and better than a number of other contending teams in MLB. I saw highlights from Tezas vs. The Rays the same night of the 11,000, and the stadium looked practically the same as Camden yards in terms of people there…not more than 15,000 tops…of course we were used to sellouts for multiple years in a row, so this is somewhat disconcerting.Many here say to forget the owner…thats a lot easier said than done, considering what he has and hasn’t done concerning the treatment of the fan base. It took 15 years to get this bad, I assume it will take more than a few weeks of meaningful baseball to bring it back to where it once was.

  21. dave hittinger Says:

    It’s a Baltimore tradition not to attend baseball games. During the O’s heyday, from 1966-1971 they averaged less than 1 million fans. Nothing new here. Just not a good baseball town.

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