"If we built it, will they come?"
That is the question the city of Miami seems to have on their minds these days. You see, they have been having a little problem with attendance for a while now. Actually, only two years in the last ten has Florida averaged over 20,000 in attendance for home games.
Here is a graph of the Florida Marlin's average turn-out compared to that of the entire National League.
It's not like Florida is overcharging for their tickets. You can go online and get a pair of outfield tickets for $15 a pop. Behind-the-plate seats are going for as low as $18 a seat.
$18 won't get you one-fifth of a nose-bleed ticket in Yankee Stadium.
The Marlins seem resigned to the pathetic turnouts at home games. The team was joking around with each other before the game on Wednesday afternoon, trying to estimate the number of fans scattered around the ballpark.
Pitcher Joe Nelson came up with 584, according to the Miami Herald. The media members who were with him counted 589. When asked about this discrepancy, Nelson said:
''You guys might have been counting ushers."
There were 11,211 tickets sold to that game, but fewer than 600 were present for the first pitch. It was so deathly quiet, says the AP, that you could hear the discussions at home plate.
Granted, it was a Wednesday afternoon game; not exactly prime time. Still, 600 fans is something less than pitiful.
You can't blame the actual baseball team. As of Thursday afternoon, Florida is just eight games behind the NL East leading New York Mets. The Marlins are home to many of the best young players in the league today, including the electric Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla.
Eight games is hardly insurmountable to these guys. Taking a title from a movie that is bound to be made soon, Remember the Rockies?
Manager Fredi Gonzalez certainly does: "That's a little crazy what they did, but why not? Why can't we do that?"
That's a great question. Why can't Florida pull off another jaw-dropping comeback? They are obviously geared toward the future, but have plenty of tools available at their fingertips.
I think the fan support for the Marlins is simply pathetic. While the stadium might not be the best, I would pay $18 to see an Appalachian League game.
Florida is not out of the playoff hunt yet, folks. Even though the fans seem to have better things to do than support their team in hope for a World Championship, catch yourself before you give up on them.