- Photo courtesy of JbSmooth84.com
The Indians are currently in first place in the American league Central with a 71 wins to 51 losses, and barring a complete collapse, are a lock to make the playoffs. This is looking like one of those years where they won’t fade come September and they’ve been good since opening day. However, as the Indians keep winning, attendance numbers at the stadium hold steady to the ballpark being half full. Why so? Well the answer is neither simple nor complex, but takes some nuance.
First let’s look at baseball and what has changed about the game; everything! The game has changed, less steroids, fewer home runs. Baseball’s inherent problem is it’s slow, and in a day and age where getting everything as fast as you can is at a premium, waiting through 3 pitching changes, 3 meetings between the catcher and pitcher, a pinch hitter and pinch runner isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to watch anymore. So the Indians lack of interest at the stadium isn’t surprising to me. There’s a plenty things to do on a Wednesday night than sit in the sun or battle mosquitos and watch a .260 hitter go for the fences (to be fair Napoli is having a career year in home runs). The Indians lack a few things that would improve attendance; I’ll lay them out here.
The Indians have no recognizable star to the world. In the 90’s they had guys with multiple all-star and home run derby appearances and commercials. Parents viewed them as role models, kids saw them as heroes. The 00’s they had guys that were budding with potential that just never panned out, but there was at least a vision of guys that would be around for a while. Now, even without a salary cap, and only as recently had the farm system groomed guys to be every day contributors. But until those guys become household names, it’ll be hard to sell the fan base on a team of ‘Who’s that guy again?’