10 Least Dedicated Fanbases in MLB (Not Willing to Stick Around When Losing)
With 81 home games a year and only eight playoff spots for 30 teams, perhaps no sport tests the character of a fanbase more so than Major League Baseball.
Which franchise's fans are the softest of them all? Which fans aren't willing to stick around when the going gets tough?
Here is my list of the top 10 least dedicated fans in MLB:
10. Atlanta Braves
The Braves were the model franchise of the 1990s. While they are contending again, they are drawing many more fans than they did through rougher years in the previous decade.
Braves fans are certainly a loyal bunch, and they don't desert their team and park the way some other teams do. That said, the Braves drew 3.3 million fans in 2000, and, since then, have come no where close to drawing 3 million fans.
Atlanta is the ninth largest metro area in the country and is one of the nation's fastest growing cities. Better things should be expected.
9. Houston Astros
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The Astros have taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent years. That attendance has declined from the heady days of the Killer B's is no head-scratcher. Even understandable.
But the Astros have really hit the bottom now. They barely cracked the 2 million mark in total attendance this season and drew about 3,000 fewer fans per game than they did last season.
While the Astros' average draw this season was right in the middle of the pack, the signs aren't pointing toward anything but more losses at the gate next season and perhaps beyond.
8. Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays have a rough lot having to compete in the AL East. The Rays have risen to the challenge though, so Toronto has no excuses.
The Jays used to pack the then-SkyDome during their World Series years in the early 1990s. Times are harder now. The Jays drew 2 million fans only three times in the 2000s, most recently in 2008.
In a bustling city with lots of diversion, baseball is sinking lower and lower on Torontonians list.
7. Cleveland Indians
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The Indians are a long cry from the halcyon days of the 90s, when they sold out then-Jacobs Field for 455 straight home games. That streak began in June 1995 and didn't end until April 2001.
Since then, the Indians have usually stunk; they've have only posted two winning seasons since 2001. They drew fewer than 10,000 fans at seven of their 14 home games in April.
I know Cleveland can have cold springs, but, man, that's awful!
6. Texas Rangers
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Dallas is no baseball town. And the Rangers will never be the Cowboys. The Rangers are going to the playoffs for a second year in a row; however they still rank in the middle of the pack in attendance.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the fourth-largest in the country. When Rangers teams lose though, fans check out and turn their attention to football or even basketball, two sports with stronger followings in this part of the country than baseball.
5. Oakland A's
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These A's fans don't want to see their team move down to San Jose. Do enough fans feel the way these ones do?
The A's haven't finished any higher than 26th in average MLB attendance since 2006.
While the A's haven't been the playoff regulars in these past few seasons that they were in the early 2000s, it's not like they were packing them in back then, either. They never finished higher than 16th in average MLB attendance last decade.
4. White Sox
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The White Sox perpetually play second fiddle to their North Side neighbors, who, among other monikers, go by the name "The Lovable Losers."
Even when the White Sox are winning, they struggle to find their space and attract fans. They are consistently middle of the pack in attendance despite playing in the nation's third largest city.
The White Sox seem to attract flocks of fair-weather fans, casual followers who may be turned off to the expense and rabidness of the Cubs experience.
But at least they can count on President Obama...
3. Washington Nationals
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Speaking of Obama, let's talk about Washington. The Nationals have struggled to create a solid identity since moving to Washington in 2005. Although the team freakishly flirted with first-half success that inaugural season, they have never given their fans anything but losing.
Sticking around for losing seasons is hard when you've known nothing else.
With Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the future does indeed look bright for the Nats, however drawing fans still figures to be a long-term challenge for the team.
Even with the comparable struggles of the nearby Baltimore Orioles, the Nationals are still working on finding a solid fan base in the nation's capital—a city full of transplants loyal to their hometown teams.
Example No. 1: President Obama, White Sox fan.
2. Florida Marlins
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Win or lose, and they've had their share of both extremes, the Marlins just don't get fans. They consistently rank near the bottom in attendance, despite playing in the fifth-largest metro area in the U.S.
Maybe the Marlins fortunes will begin to change next year, when they move to their new ballpark with its air-conditioned comfort and loads of amenities.
But maybe not. With that in mind, let's turn to my No. 1 pick...
1. Tampa Bay Rays
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Yep, the Tampa Bay Rays take the cake at No. 1.
The Rays suddenly became a great team in 2008 and have never looked back, contending every season since.
Too bad they still get pitiful numbers at their home games. In 2008 the Rays ranked 26th in average attendance. In 2009 and 2010 they came in at 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Right now they are duking it out with the Marlins for No. 28 and No. 29.
Is it something in the water? Tropicana Field is no jewel of a ballpark, but it is a major upgrade over roasting outside at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. As for the team? Baseball certainly had humble and ugly beginning in Tampa Bay, but the Rays of the past few years are arguably one of the most fun teams to watch in all of baseball.
So what gives, Gulf Coast Florida? You are the worst baseball fans in all of baseball!