October 11, 2013

Apathy Is The Mets' Biggest Risk

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that a team's performance is going to reflect in their attendance numbers. A team playing meaningful games late into the season is going to attract more fans than, say, this year's Met team. As such, as you would imagine, the Mets' Citi Field attendance numbers were not good for the 2013 season, and while that is to be expected, putting the performance in the perspective of the last few years is a little alarming.

Photo by Michael Baron

The Mets total attendance for the season (and we're talking paid attendance here, not the actual amount of butts-in-seats, which was probably much less) was 2,135,657, according to ESPN. That breaks down to an average of 26,695 per game. Again, to put it in perspective, here are a few of the teams that finished with a higher total: 76 win San Diego, 66 win Minnesota absolutely crushed the Mets with an average attendance of 30,588, and Milwaukee, who finished with the same record as the Mets but almost 5,000 more fans per game in attendance. These were pulled out as teams that performed poorly in towns traditionally believed to not be as baseball oriented as New York, or with fan bases we probably consider ourselves to be more fervent than.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that attendance is down for the Metropolitans. In 2008, a competitive year baseball wise, the Mets hosted over 4 million fans in Shea Stadium's last year. 2009, the first in these last few long years of bad baseball, the attendance still crested 3 million, at least in part bolstered by the attraction of the brand new Citi Field. Attendance has been steadily dropping in the years since to this years level, which is just barely over 50% from 2008.

Photo by Michael Baron
This is a reflection not just of the fact that the Mets are not winning. They are becoming irrelevant to the casual fan. They are fielding a team that is not only lacking talent but is also not currently fun or intriguing to watch. Save for the Matt Harvey starts or going to see David Wright play, fans are having a hard time paying Major League prices to see AAA baseball, and it's tough to blame them.

The front office has more to fear this offseason than making a bad signing, or missing out on a key free agent: apathy. At some point, it won't just be the casual fans who give up on the team. Real fans, who commit a lot of time and mental anguish to following their favorite team, won't want to hear about a bargain basement player. The last few years of trying to convince us that these small additions could propel the team into the wild-card fray have proven off the mark, and any similar attempts this offseason will probably be met with disdain at best, and indifference at worst. The failure to add real talent to this roster, with last season's best pitcher already on the DL, would derail any enthusiasm heading into Opening Day. That is the real danger this winter: the possibility of losing the room.

1 comment:

  1. i stopped watching like in july... team sucked, and nobody is fixing it