Major league baseball will not set an attendance record this year. And it sounds like the Rangers might be single-handedly to blame:
As of Saturday, Sept. 6, average attendance for the league is at 32,614, down from 32,757 on the same date last year, or a 0.44 percent decline. The drop in paid attendance (tickets sold, not turnstile clicks) comes as both Yankee and Shea Stadiums see their swansongs, and a new ballpark opened in Washington, D.C.
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The biggest declines from last year to this come from the Rangers (-20.58 percent), Padres (-13.75 percent), Athletics (-13.42 percent) and Mariners (-12.10 percent).
The fact that the Rangers have stopped monkeying with the attendance figures this season, and are reporting "real" numbers (whatever that means), no doubt has a large impact.
But as I've said before, I think that a lot of this has to do with a team that has finished below .500 in 7 of the last 8 years, and has finished no higher than third in each of the last 8 years. And I'd be willing to bet that getting off to a godawful start in April two years in a row probably diminishes enthuasiasm and makes fewer people want to go out to the ballpark, even if things improve afterwards.