Why the Arizona Diamondbacks Don't Attract Many Ballpark Fans
Would you get in line opening night for a movie without a compelling lead character? Do you rush to your computer to download an album from a band, which has a bunch of musicians without any real appeal? Have you ever thought ‘Wow that unassuming person in the corner who won't talk or even look up is really attractive?' The answer to all of those questions is most likely no.
No, I'm not making an argument as to why you shouldn't read my columns (I'm sure some of you will do that yourselves in the comment section). What I am doing is making an argument for exactly why the Diamondbacks, in the middle of a pennant race, are still only drawing 19,478 fans on a Monday night.
Is a stadium filled to only 40 percent capacity acceptable for a team that entered the game up four on their division rival and the defending World Series champion San Fransisco Giants? If you had asked me three months ago I probably would have answered with a resounding no. While many people in this town are on D-backs fans' cases for not showing up to the ballpark, I've had a change of heart.
I'm not saying this team isn't deserving of being watched and rooted for. I'm also not saying the pennant race they find themselves in isn't exciting to an extent. That said, I understand why fans are willing to watch them on television -- they've set ratings records this year if you believe the thousands of tweets Fox Sports Arizona sends out -- instead of heading to the ballpark.
Do you attend D-backs games?
Some people will try to get you to think it's because of ticket and concession prices. Don't believe that for a second. The D-backs have some of the lowest prices in the majors. No, the real reason is much simpler. The club just doesn't have anyone overly interesting or compelling.
They are the Conan the Barbarian 3D of the local sports scene. Sure, there is some action and adventure but there is no big name draw. They lack a charismatic star who can hit the talk show circuit and drum up interest. There is no personality for fans to gravitate to. Really, team president Derrick Hall is the most entertaining and interesting voice in the organization and that isn't a recipe for success with fans.
In this town, big names, wacky characters and true championship contenders draw fans. The Diamondbacks don't really fit any of those categories.
Justin Upton is inching closer to becoming a true star in baseball, but he hasn't become the can't miss player in this town on the level of a Steve Nash, Kurt Warner, Charles Barkley, Randy Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Curt Schilling.
Ryan Roberts is somewhat of a character with his tattoos and "Tatman" nickname, though he certainly isn't wacky or outgoing enough to reach the cult status of guys like Elliot Perry, Lou Amundson, Ron Wolfley or Jared Dudley. And let's be honest, even with a five game lead in the NL West, no one truly buys them as World Series contenders.
The D-backs don't possess any of the things that bring the more apathetic Valley fans out to the game.
The 2001 team played to packed houses because they had two super stars, were a true championship contender and had players pursuing record breaking years.
The Suns more often than not, either, had a super star, were title contenders or both.
The Cardinals didn't start drawing fans until they added two super stars and began winning on a regular basis and the Coyotes used to draw fans when they had big names and dreams of Lord Stanley's Cup.
The bottom line is the fair weather fan in this town won't be at the ballpark 'till late September or early October if the playoffs are a foregone conclusion. That's because the D-backs are the movie you wait to come out on DVD rather than going to the theater to see. They're the CD you don't get until a friend offers to burn it for free or the person you'd only date once you got to know them and found out they had a fantastic personality.
They lack that, how do you say, "sexiness" that draws people in. It's really too bad, too because this D-backs team is a lot of fun once you get past all of that and accept them for who they are.
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