20 June 2017

When It Rains, It Empties

In December 2013, my beloved Washington Redskins played snowy hosts to the Kansas City Chiefs. They were massacred 45-10. And, honestly, it wasn't even that close.

Even worse, however, the stands looked barren. By halftime, a good portion of that already tiny fraction had dissolved, save for the odd pocket of Chiefs fans.

In what turned out to be a crummy, three-win season, that game was probably rock bottom. And, I’ll never forget the image of all those empty, red seats, staring tauntingly out onto the frost-swept field.

There was no snow on Monday night in Baltimore, but you’d think a full-scale blizzard had hit town, judging by the rows and rows of empty seats clearly visible on the telecast.

I was stuck watching the game from behind the bar I work at. Otherwise I definitely would have considered hiking it around the Beltway to catch the game. Who would want to pass up a chance to see the clubs’ aces (Dylan Bundy and Corey Kluber) lock proverbial pitching horns?

Instead, less than 14,000 fans showed up to see the home team get waxed, 12-0. Halfway through the game, it looked like the head count barely scraped the echelon of four figures. That’s not just sobering, it’s embarrassing.

I found myself having flashbacks to that Chiefs game. Heck, even the MARLINS drew a crowd northwards of 20,000 tonight.

I’m not sure what the disconnect is. Maybe it’s the tailspin that’s seen the club tumble from first to its current residency in a tie for fourth place. Maybe fans have grown tired of the never-ending stream of lackluster pitchers parading out to the mound at Camden Yards.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t excuse nights like tonight. Maybe it would in Tampa Bay or Oakland, but not here, with a rich tradition of winning. Support your team Baltimore.

7 comments:

James Jones said...

This is slightly off-topic but it does address the make-up of the team that seems to be struggling these days. Do you have any idea how much smaller the team's player budget would be without the funds taken in from the Nationals via MASN? In other words, how much worse would they be without it?

Joe Reisel said...

Let's not forget that the weather wasn't the best. The start of the game was delayed by thirty minutes by rain. Many people who might have gone to the game may have been deterred by the prospect of rain delays. I would think twice or even three times about going to a game under those conditions.

Roger said...

Maybe Angelos is right about the O's market. Having the Nats around squeezes out a lot of the potential. I can't think of any other team whose market is so constricted by competition and geography. The O's are surrounded by the Nats, Phils, and Pirates with no way out.

Joe Reisel said...

#Roger - teams with geographical restrictions comparable to the Orioles are the Brewers, surrounded by the Twins, Cubs, White Sox, and Tigers; and the Indians, surrounded by the Tigers, Pirates, Blue Jays, and Reds.

James Jones said...

#Roger The same can be said about the Nats and Phils, i.e. their markets are awfully close to the O's. Fortunately, they all play in different leagues and shouldn't be seen as direct competitors. It's a shame that the O's and Nats don't work together to market a joint ticket package that would benefit both.

Roger said...

James and Joe, for goodness sake look at maps and SMSA data. The Nats have no competition to the south and the Phils have no competition to the north. The Phils draw from most of New Jersey and the Nats can draw from the Carolinas, the remainder of VA, and parts of KY and TN that have no Major League teams. I grew up in Alabama and became a Braves fan because there were no other ML teams within a 300 mile, six or seven state radius (no FL teams then). The O's are hemmed in with ML teams 50 miles to the south and 90 miles to the north (and most of WV would look to the Pirates). As far as MIL and CLE go, the comparison, especially in terms of distance is totally meaningless. Chicago is no competition for MIL since it is, by itself, such a huge market. That's like saying the Phils compete with the Yankees and Mets. It's ridiculous. The CLE example is even worse. The Blue Jays don't count - they're in a different country. The Tigers and Twins don't count - they each have their own states with a lot more mileage between them and MIL or CLE. Even PHL and PGH don't really compete even though BOTH compete with the O's. I work in DC and see only Nats fans and travel in VA and see Nats fans (and TV coverage). When I go to NJ I see Phils fans (and TV coverage). The O's are by far and away the most hemmed-in team at least since the Cardinals competed with the Browns and there were three teams in NY.

Joe Reisel said...

#Roger - The Orioles are a team with a limited catchment area, no doubt.

Your argument that they are "far and away the most hemmed-in team" does not convince me. Your arguments as to why Milwaukee and Cleveland aren't hemmed in are equally applicable to the Orioles.