Did you see this article in the Enquirer complaining about the paltry attendance lately at Great American Ballpark? I have to admit, I’m frustrated by this, too:

And in the five-team NL Central, they draw fewer fans on average than every team except the Pittsburgh Pirates, which are in last place, 19 games behind leader St. Louis. The Reds are in second place in the division, 3½ games behind the Cardinals.

Sports talk show host Lance McAlister of WCKY-AM (1530) said Monday that he’s become so frustrated with the low attendance figures that he’s given up trying to analyze them.

“If being in contention, being the surprise of Major League Baseball, and – if the postseason started today – being in the playoffs isn’t enough for a town where baseball was born, I don’t know what is,” McAlister said. “If I were working for the Reds, I’d throw my hands up.”

This is frustrating to me, mainly because I’d love to be at the ballpark every single day. Unfortunately, I can’t, because I live four hours away, but I make the trip every weekend that I’m able. If I lived in the area, I’d get a nine dollar bleacher seat every night.

I love Jeff Wallner’s take on the attendance article:

I particularly liked the comment from the 22-year old fan who said the recent heat wave discouraged him from going to Reds games. Of course, the cost of parking, beer and concessions continues to be a problem.

(sigh)

Reds games rank in the top ten “least” expensive in baseball. We can only hope that the weather cools off so people will feel safe venturing out of their homes.

I weep for this town.

Then again, maybe Shawn is onto something:

Hey, five losing seasons in a row will do that to you. These things take time, and the media doesn’t seem to understand that. Shoot, the media took off the week of the All-Star Game. Is that reflected in the attendance numbers? People will come out this week and next, if they can take the heat. Nasty heat wave. Bring those “Free Edwin Encarnacion” signs, people!

Well, I agree with that last sentiment, certainly. And he may have a point, though I can’t really understand it because I waste way too much money every single year driving to Cincinnati over and over whether they are winning or not. I’m a Reds fan. It’s what we do.

Isn’t it?

24 Responses

  1. Jack

    I love the Reds and I’m a lot of other people in the area do too but I don’t think the media realizes how badly this area is hurting due to the economy. Gas prices have pretty much soaked up most of my discretionary income. As a fan I’d love to be there but as a father I have more important obligations.

  2. funspoiler

    I can’t really understand it because I waste way too much money every single year driving to Cincinnati over and over whether they are winning or not. I’m a Reds fan. It’s what we do.

    Isn’t it?

    Amen. I’m sick of the excuses. If I lived in Cincinnati I’d be there every day, no exaggeration. I’ve already seen them five times this year in other parks, and I’m going to Philly to see them in two weekends and to GABP over Labor Day. That makes seven. And I live 9 hours away. I’ve been to fourteen Nats games, too, a last place team, that doesn’t have my whole heart. (Plus a game at Yankee Stadium makes seventeen total so far.)

    The excuses are just that: excuses. You can get bleacher seats for $5, so that’s not an excuse. Nobody is forcing you to buy the food at the ballpark – you can bring in your own lunch or dinner if you want. People have been programmed to think they need to buy that stuff at the ballpark. Heck, I even sneak a couple of bottles of beer in a bag of magic peanuts when I go to the park. Last time I went to RFK, I spent $3, a new price for the cheapest seats. Oh, and the $2.65 for Metro fare to and from the park, so $5.65. I know you have to drive to GABP and that gas is bad, but it isn’t unaffordable. Parking is ridiculously low around GABP, too. You can park at the garage a few blocks from the stadium for $7. There are places where it’s cheaper than that. Heck, you can park in Kentucky and walk over the bridge for $3-$4. Why not choose a Reds game over that latest DVD you just bought, maybe Reds instead of ordering a pizza on Friday if money is such an issue?

    As for the heat, yeah, it’s bad. A gallon of water before the game really helps with that. Again, people spend so much time in air conditioning anymore that they think their bodies can’t take the heat. That’s a shame. Being an energy conscious person, I don’t use the air much, so I guess my body is able to withstand more misery than most. And the money I save from not using the air can go to more baseball! 😎

    I guess I wrote a bit much, but it is an issue that really irks me. I’m tired of seeing the excuses. They are just that – excuses. Laziness is probably the better explanation.

    RedsFanInMd – which game in Philly are you going to? I’ll be up there, too. Can’t wait. I go up every year to see the Reds.

  3. Baseball_Minutia

    Who is the only MLB team to claim its peak attendance from the 70’s?

    Once you find out that answer then the problem seems much bigger then the last 5 years.

  4. al

    i’m with Shawn and these types of articles really piss me off. Like the fans of this club haven’t been patient with this pathetically inept organization over the last five years.

    Honestly, it’s looking more and more like the reds are going collapse (after dropping 3 in a row), and it looks like that might be due in part to trading away 2 popular players. not exactly a PR bonanza.

    If they make the playoffs, people will be back. But right now the reds are skating on some pretty thin ice, and i don’t blame the good people of this city for not buying it just yet. And since when is 25k a really low number for a tuesday?

  5. Dan Dumoulin

    I live four miles from downtown. I have been to about 10 ballgames this year. This might sound silly to some, but the biggest reason I haven’t been to more games is stadium access. I can’t quite explain it, but there isn’t a good, easy, inexpensive way to get quickly or easily into and out of the stadium. I realize if you are traveling a further distance this isn’t a big deal to you… just getting to the stadium area is your main goal. For me, however, I would often go to games on the “spur of the moment”.. now, it is just a hassle to get to the Park. The stadium is in a lousy location.. even the river shuttles and bus shuttles are a pain the $%*. It just adds a reason to not say at 6:15 on a random weeknight “Hey, lets go the game tonight”… we have a minor-league team here in Northern KY that we do that with now.. easy access, easy parking, easy out of the place when its over. The City and The Reds really screwed up when they put the stadium where they did. The old stadium was surrounded by much more parking, was directly at the end of a bridge from KY (which also had much more parking near the bridge back then), and there was much parking downtown prior to the reconstruction of Ft Washington Way. You can say “I would buy a $9 ticket every night”.. but then how are you getting there and back, and what are you willing to pay to do that and how much of your time are you willing to add onto each end of the game?

  6. Chad

    Sorry, Daedalus. Your comment got caught in the moderation queue for some reason. I approved it.

  7. al

    my point is that fans build a relationship with their organization, and like all relationships, it takes trust. Sure fans in STL and HOU are out-drawing us, they’re organizations have built trust over the last years with things like World Series appearances and major moves to improve the team. Beltrans and Larry Walkers, not Clayton for Kearns.

    The reds have been a laughing stock for 5 years, and in that time the club has spent all it’s capital with the fans with multiple fire sales, 3 managers in 3 years, 3 gms in 4 years, changing ownership, etc, etc.

    In my mind the fans of this city are allowed to do whatever the hell they want this year, it’s up to the reds to prove that they’re a real baseball team again, not the fans.

    The fans have put untold millions of dollars in the pockets of owners, middle managers, administrators, players, coaches, and media personel. And what have they gotten for it? Not only have they been a losing team, but an embarrasment.

    ESPN the magazine had cincy as the worst city in the country to be a sports fan a couple of years ago. It’s payback time. When this team has a respectable year they’ll have shown the fans that they deserve respect. Until then, the club and the media should shut up and do their jobs with some effing humility, and stop worrying about what the people who pay their checks are doing.

  8. Baseball_Minutia

    When this team has a respectable year they’ll have shown the fans that they deserve respect.

    30 years and counting since the high attendance, 30 years. The Reds were also the last MLB city to draw a million back when that was a milestone.

  9. al

    who cares about what fans in ’81 were doing? i was a year old and i won’t be made to feel guilty for fans not showing up for those games. maybe they were all mourning disco or rolling up their blazer sleves and selling junk bonds. who cares?

    I’m talking about today’s fans in today’s stadium with today’s team. And after the abuse that this city has taken from this team over the last 5 years, i think it’s offensive for them and/or the media to bellyache about 25k on a tuesday.

    attendance is up nearly 3k pergame from last year. if those tickets go for an average of $15, that’s an EXTRA $3.6 mil from us to you. And what have the reds done to earn that extra 3.6+? They’ve gotten a whole 4 games over .500 and made a nightmare of a trade for PR.

    Win something. make a real run at something. Then talk. 4 games over in august isn’t awe inspiring, AND attendance is up, AND people complain. That crap doesn’t add up to me.

  10. dcstreet

    The average American has long ago been priced out of the professional sports average cost to spend a day or weekend at different venues. I live about 800 miles from Cincy so I only get there once a year. If I lived in the area I would be a season ticket holder because I am a loyal fan and that is your best bargain. As it has been discussed before, the Cincy market relies on people who drive in from other areas and I believe the economy is the reason for attendance not being where it should for the playoff chase. Go Reds and free EdE. ❗

  11. al

    Justin: never said don’t pay attention to the past, just the past that has little or no bearing on the team and fans in question now. How many players from the ’82 reds are on the team right now? This years team has to exercise the demons that it is still tied to, not the demons from past eras.

    Daedalus: I must have missed the memo that teams in any kind of contention should average 30k. DC just got a team last year, wouldn’t you expect some residual excitement? And they’re out drawing the reds by what, 1,000 per? Dollars to donuts, if we had the Tigers team and record, we’d be pulling in over 30k.

  12. Dan Dumoulin

    I find it amazing that several posters who don’t live in the area say “If I lived in Cincy I would be there every night”… those are the types of things that are real easy to say when the option doesn’t really exist. It is akin to saying “If I lived on the coast of Florida, I would go to the beach everyday”. Things that are novelties or special events always seem like they would be great to do everyday… but when the novelty wears off, and you realize you can do it whenever you want even if you don’t get around to it today, those feelings change.
    I am not ripping those fans at all.. I think it is great that they travel such a long distance to see the club play. But look around at the things that are special where you live.. the things that people travel into your area to do… how often do you do them or take advantage of them? I maintain my former position.. the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County did a very poor job of making the stadium easily accessible to the local fan that is fitting a Reds game into the rest of their day/evening/life. It makes it way too easy to say “I need to be up early tommorrow, so I will go to the game at the end of the week instead”… let me leave my house, park in an easily accessible parking lot, get on a public transit system that takes me right to the stadium, then takes me right back to the parking lot my car is in. Other cities, venues have these systems.. heck, even amusement parks have this figured out. The Reds and the City have acted for too long that all they have to do is throw the product/venue out there and the people will come because this is a “baseball town”. I love the game, but if you want me to allocate at least 4 hours and many dollars to the product, you at least have to make it easy and convenient for me to buy it.

  13. Blue

    With the exception of the Cubs, who have morons for fans, the NL Central attendance figures match up with where each team finished in the division standings. Its not that difficult to figure out.

  14. yankeefaninredscountry

    I saw the Enquirer article yesterday and was sufficiently guilted into going to last night’s game (my third of the season). I’m not a Red’s fan per se, but am a baseball fan who moved to the area two years ago. I felt it was something of an obligation to support my local team in their push for the playoffs. That said, I was reminded of some of the reasons why I don’t get to GAB more often. Certainly the weather (man, it was hot!) and the cost are obstacles, but the real problem is that the team’s not that good. Judging from last night’s game, you would never guess that the Reds could be a playoff team. In fact, they’re one game over .500 at home. Their overall record would put them in the bottom half of the AL. A couple of other people made the point, but given the teams recent history, it’s hard to be a real believer, and their play this year doesn’t go too far towards making anyone think they’re for real.

  15. Abner

    Completely a rash thought, but has anyone noticed when the media decides the Reds fans aren’t showing up and call on everyone and their mother to go to a game, that the fans show up and the Reds lose? [See opening day, last nights game and the Cleveland Home series for reference. Sure Adam Dunn hit a walk off on Friday with, what 25,000 in attendance. What’d they do the next two games when the attendance rose? ]

    Maybe the Reds are an inexperienced team that can’t yet handle the pressure of the hometown fans.

    Just an observation from an out-of-town Reds fan.

    Trust me I still want to see them win.

  16. Chad

    Blasphemy, Chris. Your posting privileges are hereby revoked.

  17. Chad

    If they put 162 Reds games on TV next year, it wouldn’t decrease the number of games I go to. In fact, seeing them on TV more, especially when they are winning, makes me want to go down there.

    That’s true for me, as well. I got MLB Extra Innings last year, so I see most of the games now (whereas before, I saw a handful per year, at most).

    Being able to see them every night has made me want to be at the ballpark even more. Almost every night, I say to myself, “Man, I wish I were there right now.”

    So that’s my situation. I’ll still see my 5-10 games a year, but I wish I could see more.

    But then again, I’m one of those “poetry of baseball” guys. I’ll watch it anytime, anywhere. Heck, last year, I attended baseball games at every level from high school, college (D1, D2, NAIA), Rookie league, A, AA, AAA, Majors. I’m a junkie.

    Don’t know if I’ll get to a AAA game this year, but I’ll have the rest of them covered.

  18. Chad

    Brewers attendance last weekend against the Reds:

    32,743
    43,000
    42,976

    Brewers attendance vs. Pittsburgh, in the middle of last week (Mon, Tue, Wed):

    30,252.
    35,923
    37,678

    Check the standings. The Brewers were .500 last year, but they were much worse than the Reds over the previous four years and have been run even worse than the Reds, if you can imagine that.

    Why are their fans supporting the team? That’s not accusatory, it’s a question I’d really like to know the answer to. I’m curious.

    Again, it’s a “poetry of baseball” thing, but I want the Reds atmosphere to be more like Boston’s. I want a full house of people devoted to the team. The Reds are a special franchise, they deserve that.

    Sorry, I got a tear in my eye there. 🙂

  19. Chad

    Well, if the biggest argument for poor attendence is that the Reds have been awful lately…shouldn’t Brewers fans be more beaten down than us? They’ve had one year with a .500 record, and a history of just being terrible. No world championships.

    I’m afraid, as Brian from Baseball Minutia has pointed out above, that there’s more here than meets the eye. The Reds haven’t been a huge draw since the BRM, despite some good years.

  20. al

    Chad, first off be careful what you wish for. I live in boston, and fenway is great, but it’s so expensive that going once or twice a year is all i can afford, and it’s still tough to get decent seats at a decent game.

    i long for $5 bleachers, so yead it boggles my mind that more people aren’t going to reds games, ’cause i’d love to, especially at those prices. That said, i just won’t stand for this media intimidation of the fan base.

    Second, look back to attendance figures before Henry et al bought the red sox, restructured the team, dumped a ton of money in to payroll, player development, and stadium renovations. Then they made the playoffs, that’s when the sellouts started.

    The reds can do all that, but it takes time. Fenway was a ghost town too not so long ago. If the reds make the playoffs this year, it will be a different story next year, and probably for at least a few years to come.

  21. al

    i think it comes from recent success, not historical success. like greg said, the brewers had a strong finish last year and a lot of hype coming into this year.

    what was our attendance like in 2000?

  22. dcstreet

    The average American has long ago been priced out of the professional sports

    If someone can’t afford a $5 baseball ticket, then they shouldn’t be going to ballgames because they have real problems they need to be taking care of.

    The ticket is only part of the picture – concessions are like going to movie matinee for 3 bucks and the drinks are 5. Parking is another cost as is fuel and if from out of town, the motels & hotels are sky high in Cincy. Back to the tickets – it is a crying shame that the good tickets have to be bought from online scalpers for more than double the face value. Still the fan loves the experience so much that he will find a way to be there.

  23. Dan Dumoulin

    DCStreet:
    Since yu seem to be a fan that comes in from out of town, I just want to offer a couple of “tips”.. always check eBay for tix.. then call Riverfront Choice Tckets.. I have gotten several sets of 4 tix from them in section 134 ($30 seats face) for $10 a ticket for “low interest” games. They seem to own two or three whole rows there.
    Hotels: priceline is great for downtown cincy on weekends.. the Millenium, in particular, seems to available for under $50 on weekends a lot. Don’t forget to include the hotels in KY when doing yojur request. If that fails, there is a Super 8 (much nicer than you would think) right up the hill in Ft Mitchell, KY for a standard rate of $48 a night. If you just want a clean room, convenient to downtown and the stadium, its worth it.
    Finally, Willie’s Sports Bar in Covington runs a shuttle from their parking lot for $2 roundtrip…and they give you $2 in fun bucks to use in the bar. If you want to stop in for a beer or food after the game, it makes the shuttle free.
    Just some tips… hope they help!

  24. dcstreet

    Thanks for the tips Dan – I do normally stay on the Ky. side when I visit. 😉