DMZ · May 6, 2008 at 10:56 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

That’s announced attendance and not actual turnstile count. So 15,818 fans didn’t see the game in person.

Why? A couple things come to mind:
– it’s cold, and more and more people are catching on that Safeco Field night games early in the season are really unpleasant.
– the M’s, for all the talk about this year being a contention year, were way under .500 and way back in the division, which makes the sales pitch not that much different than other recent years
– they were playing the Rangers, who have a bad record (like the M’s) and have been bad for years, so there’s not a lot of rivalry or divisional interest there either
– uninspiring pitching lineup

If I’d had season tickets, I’d have been trying to move or exchange for a future matchup. This is the kind of game it used to be really hard to convince my wife to go to, because she had good sense (“Ryaaaan Fraaaaaaaanklin? Uhhh…. I couuuuuuuuld goooo…”)

This isn’t all that far off previous season lows, especially the last few years, where they’ve had mid-week night games in the cold draw poorly. It happens. I have no doubt that as we’ve seen before, the stadium will fill up when the weather gets better.

But it is a new low, a benchmark for how fickle their fans have become and how few the most dedicated are.


43 Responses to “15,818”

  1. BrianL on May 6th, 2008 10:59 pm

    Now that’s a number that will get Howie and Chuck’s attention in a hurry.

  2. pgreyy on May 6th, 2008 11:03 pm

    I was there.

    It wasn’t that cold–in that, it’s certainly been much colder…

    It might have, however, been one of the worst games that I’ve ever been present to see.

    What made it worse was “kind of knowing” it was going to be awful. I’d said while we were scoring runs the day before “Great…now we won’t hit a lick for the game we’ve got tickets for…”

    Absolutely NOTHING to gather the interest of the fans who were actually there. I was kind of surprised there were any of us left for the feeble end.

    The sad thing is knowing that there were some people at the game tonight for whom this will be their only trip to Safeco all year.

  3. Tom on May 6th, 2008 11:07 pm


    Ya, just like all the other games with low attendance. Until people get fired I won’t believe that any low attendance numbers will get their attention because Lincoln/Armstrong/Bavasi are basically united ’till death does them apart at this point.

    It’s just sad, I miss exciting baseball. I miss smart baseball. I miss winning baseball that went on into October.

    This team on the field is not the kind of Mariners team I grew up with.

  4. DMZ on May 6th, 2008 11:24 pm

    When I was biking home today I really could have used heavier gloves… heavier everything, actually. I got home really quite cold and a little wet. It would have made me seriously think about not attending at all if I’d held tickets. If it had been warmer through the day, maybe it would have suckered people in.

  5. Benne on May 6th, 2008 11:28 pm

    The low attendance doesn’t surprise me, for the same reasons Derek mentioned–April baseball in Safeco really is quite miserable. That, plus a midweek game against a non-marquee opponent, meant that people clearly had better things to do.

  6. Go Felix on May 6th, 2008 11:29 pm

    I was there.

    Weather wasn’t as bad as Opening Day. Now that was cold.

    I was sitting in the Terrace Club and I took a few photos of the crowd at the beginning of the game and after the 3rd inning. I would say about a good 25% of the people left in the area that I was sitting and by the 5th or 6th inning another 40% left. This was probably the worst game of the season at home and definitely the worst game I’ve been to in a long time.

    I’ll keep going to games because I love the experience of live baseball as opposed to just watching on t.v. or talking about it. These guys are just starting to take the fun out of baseball by not even seeming like they give a shit. There is no fire in Mariners baseball this season, which is the reason they should fire everyone associated with Mariners baseball.

  7. BrianL on May 6th, 2008 11:32 pm


    As much as I hate to embrace the emotional side of all of this, you’re right. When I watch this team, I’m watching a group of players who don’t make me excited.

    Maybe that’s why I’ve been watching more Rays games lately.

  8. shortbus on May 6th, 2008 11:54 pm

    I think after so many years of disappointment people are more susceptible to being scared off by weather and poor pitching matchups. I’m a committed fan, but the worst thing in the world, to me, is a game in which my team just doesn’t hit the ball. The only exception is when my team’s pitching and defense is up to the challenge and you end up with a tight game anyway. Yeah. That’s gonna happen. Lately the M’s just aren’t hitting the ball and even though I know that doesn’t mean they won’t hit today…but if I’m not excited about going, I’m not going.

  9. lailaihei on May 7th, 2008 12:09 am

    As a poor college student who loves to go to games, I have to choose wisely. I went to every game in the O’s/A’s homestand because I like the A’s and Adam Jones. I went to two of the Angels games because it’s the Angels and it’s warm weather.
    Rangers, White Sox? Doesn’t scream exciting to me. Maybe I’ll check out a Felix or Bedard day so I can see Balentien and Clement, but it’s doubtful I go to more than one.
    I already have tickets to the Friday Pads game and the whole Boston series this month.

    Even fans who go to 60% of home Mariners games had about 0 reason to go to tonight’s.

  10. BillyJive on May 7th, 2008 1:19 am

    I have been to at least 2 or 3 games every year since 1995. That doesn’t sound like a lot but I live 11 hours away in smalltown BC and with the cost of gas and the dollar exchange I have still made the trek every summer.
    This is the first season since that magic ’95 season where I actually am debating on whether or not to bother going to Seattle this summer….


  11. mln on May 7th, 2008 1:27 am

    The M’s front office should pull out all the stops and play the Nostalgia card to the hilt.

    In addition to trading for Griffey, the M’s can bring back the Big Unit. Also, fire McLaren and replace him with Jay Buhner as manager, Edgar as hitting coach, and Mark Langston as pitching coach. Joey Cora can become the new bench coach as well as fill in as the Mariner Moose on occasion.

    They also need a catchy slogan like “Refuse to Lose, the Sequel!”

    If these gimmicks don’t bring fans to Safeco this summer, then by God nothing will.

  12. BillyJive on May 7th, 2008 1:36 am

    Not even the ‘Win A Date with Julio Mateo’ promotion will bring fans to Safeco…
    As far as nostalgia how about a catchy slogan like ‘Bringing 80’s baseball back to Seattle’

  13. Benne on May 7th, 2008 2:00 am

    “Mariners Baseball: You Got Beter Things To Do on a Tuesday Night.”

    I don’t think that will fit well on a bumper sticker, though.

  14. Benne on May 7th, 2008 2:00 am

    Better. Crap.

  15. Ollie in Raleigh on May 7th, 2008 5:24 am

    Now that’s a slogan that works for me Benne,
    “Mariner baseball, Better Crap”

    The team is better than it was last week, but…

  16. Badbadger on May 7th, 2008 6:16 am

    I think this is just one of the problems with going with the old broken down veteran strategy. If they don’t win, there’s no motivation to see them. Vidro and Sexson aren’t rising young stars you can watch develop. If they turn any corners it will be the last corner before the scrap heap.

  17. smb on May 7th, 2008 7:08 am

    I gave away my Thursday tickets (Sec 132, Row 31) because frankly, I don’t want to see this in person right now. I don’t want people who paid good money for their tickets to have to sit in my vicinity while I bitch and moan about how fucking terrible we are. By the way, I had trouble getting rid of those tickets (could hardly give them away). I’ll start going back when my emotionally resistance to extended bouts of losing returns, which should be sometime in July when we first see the sun.

  18. WhyOWhy on May 7th, 2008 7:11 am

    – it’s cold, and more and more people are catching on that Safeco Field night games early in the season are really unpleasant.

    How long before the team threatens to move if it doesn’t receive a modern, domed stadium like the Kingdome?

  19. downwarddog on May 7th, 2008 7:12 am

    I’ve been to three games this season and the roof has been up for all of them and it’s actually quite pleasant “inside.” In fact, being at Safeco is pretty much better than being anywhere else in Seattle – even with a winter jacket on. All three of those games had attendance of less than 18,000.

    You can say April baseball is awful, but that’s the way it is in most of the country. Bottom line: The M’s have the 18th best home attendance in the game (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/attendance). They have a mediocre team and their attendance reflects that. Sure – like everywhere – more people will come as the weather gets nicer, school gets out, etc. Last year, they came in 16th. (They were number one in 2001, 2002) …

    No doubt Griffey would goose the attendance, but obviously winning is what really brings people to the park.

    Meanwhile, Bedard’s on the mound tonight. I’m there.

  20. bergamot on May 7th, 2008 7:27 am

    I never purchased the MLB cable TV package because it seemed silly to pay to watch TV baseball when I could watch the Mariners and the occasional ESPN game for free. This year, I may change my mind. There are two reasons.

    (1) ESPN broadcasts 97 Red Sox – Yankees games each season, and I just don’t care very much.

    (2) The M’s are becoming dull. A team can suck without being dull, but this season’s version does both. Once the team falls behind by more than two runs, there’s no reason to watch the rest of the game, because it’s a certain loss.

    I’ll still enthusiastically participate in Happy Felix Day and watch on the days when Erik “Not On The DL This Week” Bedard pitches, but I’ll be doing a lot of fast forwarding on the DVR for the other games.

  21. msb on May 7th, 2008 7:54 am

    during the later innings Dave made a point of commending those who hung around to the bitter end, acknowledging what a dog they were watching…

  22. David Jones on May 7th, 2008 7:56 am

    I was one of the unfortunate few at the game last night with my dad. No way were there 15k people there, I’m not sure there were even 10,000. By the time the game ended, it was certainly under 1,000. Ironically, we exchanged our season tickets for Wed/Thurs for future games…until we realized that what we should have done was exchanged last night and gone to the game tonight to see Bedard.

    What a horrible, horrible game to sit and watch, and quite emblematic of the 2008 Mariners.

  23. jspektor on May 7th, 2008 8:08 am

    DMZ and the rest –

    You guys are right in the assessment that April / Early may safeco baseball is not very lucrative and a Texas vs Batista match up makes things worse … however … if we had any sort of team we would be drawing at least 5,000 more fans, I just dont buy it otherwise.

    The fact is the attendance factor is just the latest slap in the face in regards to how bad things in Seattle has gotten.

    That wont stop me from buying a hat, even though I should stop giving the org money.

  24. JMHawkins on May 7th, 2008 8:16 am

    When I was biking home today I really could have used heavier gloves… heavier everything, actually. I got home really quite cold

    Well, it’s you own fault Derek. With all that biking instead of driving, you’re not putting your share of carbon into the atmosphere to help stave off the coming ice age.

  25. Carson on May 7th, 2008 8:18 am

    It wasn’t as cold as opening day, that is for sure. But, yeah, cold + suck + Rangers = low attendance every time.

    Go Felix – Is it just me, or does the service in the Terrace Club just suck now? Their little devices they order food on seem to be very slow (took like 10mins to place my order) and then it took 3 innings and reminding the lady twice to get my hotdog.

    Turns out they “couldn’t find me.” I never left my seat. Oh yeah, and then they expected me to eat the cold hot dog that had been sitting around for 3 innings. Pretty sweet huh?

  26. don52656 on May 7th, 2008 8:35 am

    Another reason that attendance is down is the state of the economy. People are less likely to fork out money to see a game when it’s costing $50+ for a tank of gas. And they are really less likely when the team they are going to see is crummy.

    Actually, the attendance issue is probably the reason Bavasi and company will be gone soon.

  27. msb on May 7th, 2008 8:51 am

    People are less likely to fork out money to see a game when it’s costing $50+ for a tank of gas.

    wow. you must have a big gas tank.

  28. metz123 on May 7th, 2008 8:57 am

    huh? My 14 gallon tank in my small Audi A4 costs me over $50 to fill up right now. I figure my family pays around $450 a month now on gas. That’s a pretty big chunk of what used to be disposable income.

  29. Go Felix on May 7th, 2008 9:00 am


    I haven’t really noticed a difference. I’ve only been sitting there since this year and 1 game last year. I just like the view from there mostly. I’ll be there again tonight so maybe I’ll take some notes, or just jump off depending how the game goes………yikes!

  30. downwarddog on May 7th, 2008 9:27 am

    I don’t really buy the gas argument. The Cardinals are drawing over 40,000 a game and they bring in fans from a rather wide radius. They just happen to be winning.

  31. strong silence on May 7th, 2008 9:49 am

    40,000 per game is stunning. St. Louis is more of a football town, no? Wait, it’s the new stadium and winning.

    I take the bus. The bus to/from Bellevue is convenient but at $5 per round tip is only a few bucks cheaper thank parking.

  32. msb on May 7th, 2008 10:37 am

    I don’t really buy the gas argument. The Cardinals are drawing over 40,000 a game and they bring in fans from a rather wide radius. They just happen to be winning.

    the Cards also have a 108-year history going for them 🙂

  33. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 7th, 2008 11:17 am

    According to ESPN, the Mariners are now #20 in average attendance over the season thus far, with an average of 26000 per game.

    That is essentially equivalent to the White Sox, and I’m guessing it’s even colder there.

    Hell, Milwaukee is outdrawing us by 8000 per game. MILWAUKEE.

  34. Librocrat on May 7th, 2008 11:38 am

    That’s did see the game in person, correct? Not “didn’t”? Or am I misreading it.

  35. gps on May 7th, 2008 11:39 am

    St. Louis is more of a football town, no?

    St. Louis is one of the great baseball towns in the country. The new ballpark, and winning, sure help.

    Losing isn’t so bad. Losing while being boring AND stupid is, and that’s what the Mariners have going for them now.

  36. eponymous coward on May 7th, 2008 11:47 am

    This morning, it was pointed out on KOMO that 7 of the 10 lowest crowd totals since the Mariners moved to Safeco Field have happened in 2008.

    I know y’all think that there’s NO way senior Mariner management could possibly avoid hiring the next Cam Bonifay as Bill Bavasi’s replacement… but consider:

    – the Mariners know that winning = attendance = money.
    – the Mariners are 6 years removed from their attendance peak, and 5 years removed from their last really good team.
    – evidence is mounting that a) Bavasi isn’t the answer and b) Mariner attendance is starting to implode.
    – Gosh, that Billy Beane guy seems to be pretty good at winning. And Theo Epstein. Hmm, maybe those wacky sabremetrics guys might have a point. Why don’t we interview a couple of them during our GM hiring process?

  37. Axtell on May 7th, 2008 12:49 pm

    It’s not the cost of gas, it’s the cost of the team being terrible, not scoring runs, and there’s no buzz whatsoever about the team.

    Yes, the team is bad, and until changes are made (both on and off the field) attendance is going to lag.

    I don’t buy the weather argument either, as there are teams in worse locations outdrawing the M’s. There’s no compelling reason to go see the team right now, especially on a non-Felix or Bedard night, and especially with the offense being as terrible as it’s been this year.

    msb, $50 for a tank of gas doesn’t require a huge tank. $4 / gallon X 12.5 gallons = $50.

  38. Gomez on May 7th, 2008 1:23 pm

    Good post, Derek, because it’s very easy to blame the low attendance solely on the team’s struggles, but the cold weather, who they’re throwing on a particular night, and their opposition are definitely key factors, just as much as the team itself.

    27. 14 gallons (the average size of a tank) * 3.65 a gallon = $51.10. And that’s at the current rate: the price will go up. So yeah. Five years ago, not even close to that, but nowadays that’s the going rate.

  39. pgreyy on May 7th, 2008 1:39 pm

    Billy Beane, good as he might be at more consistently fielding a winning baseball team, isn’t “the answer” to dropping attendance.

    …BUT if the fans thought the M’s had a chance to win, they’d brave almost anything to watch it happen.

    I think what really hurts last night’s game was that it was almost instantly hopeless. We know we can’t hit, we know that our defense is questionable and our bullpen can’t be counted upon…so, when it’s obvious from the first pitch that our starting pitcher doesn’t have it that night…it’s over.

    That kind of defeats the whole “inherent drama of sport.”

    And it really feels like there’s nothing this team can do about it.

    Seattle fans “gotta love these guys”–so, they assume that they’re all “really trying”… We watch these games and there’s absolutely no sense that any of them is “due”, or that anyone can “grit their teeth and switch gears” or that they can improve upon what they’re doing. And we all know that the cupboard is now bare of in-house options.

    There’s never a rally. There’s never that sense of “come on, we can still do this.” Those “two outs, so what” memories mock us.

    If baseball isn’t exciting…and it keeps getting more and more expensive…then people AREN’T going to “suffer” through what is meant to be entertainment.

    Our team is lying down and our manager can only cry about it. Is there ANYONE on this team that you can imagine getting angry at our team’s current situation?

    Last night, a loud clang was heard that shook us up in section 331–and that’s when Adrian Beltre smashed his bat against the metal bench in the dugout. It shook the fans up…and it’s a taste of what is needed, I think–a sense that this team cares that it built up expectations and is historically failing to live up to those expectations.

    Unfortunately, Beltre was only angry that he’d just struck out…nothing more.

    The bottom line is…if the team can’t be motivated to show up, how can you expect the fans to be motivated to show up?

  40. gwangung on May 7th, 2008 2:39 pm

    Our team is lying down and our manager can only cry about it. Is there ANYONE on this team that you can imagine getting angry at our team’s current situation?

    Quite a few.

    But I don’t go by just what I see in TV.

    One of the things I REALLY hate to hear is the term “The team has laid down” or “The team has stopped trying.” You CANT tell that from the outside. That’s just the external stuff, subject to invidual variations in personal expressions.

    I MIGHT believe the current Sonics team gave up. I don’t believe it’s applicable to the current Mariners team–watch that spirit and attitude pick up if the team goes on a five game winning streak.

  41. beckya57 on May 7th, 2008 2:48 pm

    I’ve said it before: I refuse to attend any games while this management team is still in place. I just won’t subsidize gross incompetence, and I think the only thing that will get ownership to recognize the need for change is a crash in attendance and thus revenues. It’s not about me being a “fickle” fan. I want to see good baseball, even more than I want to see the M’s win, and we haven’t had much of that since about 2002. Watching a bunch of aging veterans throw the ball around, strike out a lot, and give up multiple BB’s just doesn’t cut it. Yes, the weather is a factor, and yes the sliding economy and the ever-increasing price of gas are also factors, but the bottom line is this team isn’t worth paying to see.

  42. eponymous coward on May 7th, 2008 5:44 pm

    Billy Beane, good as he might be at more consistently fielding a winning baseball team, isn’t “the answer” to dropping attendance.

    Aside from ignoring my OTHER example, you don’t think that winning baseball has just a BIT to do with Mariner attendance? Hint: please note my reference to the Mariner attendance peak in 2002. What happened the year before?

    And before you say “the A’s don’t draw because Beane does X”- they weren’t drawing well in the 1970’s when they won World Series. Oakland/Corporate Sponsorship Coliseum is a lousy ballpark and hurts their product.

  43. scott19 on May 7th, 2008 6:23 pm

    And before you say “the A’s don’t draw because Beane does X”- they weren’t drawing well in the 1970’s when they won World Series.

    You’re right about that. For as much as we joke about the A’s not drawing any fans, their attendance is actually probably better these days than it was back in the early 70’s…I mean, how the hell can you have a championship team playing 81 home dates (with a lot more Saturday matinee games in those days, too, I might add) and still draw not even one million for the whole season? Even the Marlins in their two WS years have gone over a million.

    And, out of all the excuses I’ve heard about that place, the two that crack me up the most are: (1) “it’s in a crappy area of town” and (2) “it’s too cold to go out there for a night game” — because: (A) for the most part, stadiums generally tend to be located in somewhat-grungy sections of town in the first place, and (B) gee, I wish all those A’s fans who whine about it being 55* and a little breezy at game time would go cry a river to Yanks, Bosox, Tigers, Indians or Cubbie fans who show up in droves on Opening Day when it’s freakin’ snowing outside for pete’s sake.

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