Barry Zito

MLB Monday: Fans are getting picky

Giants As fansBefore we go through our first link dump in a while (hey, keep your “Dannon Activia” yogurt jokes to yourself), a few thoughts on baseball attendance. In Extra Baggs, Andrew Baggarly pondered the Giants’ low attendance, as “they failed to crack the 40,000 mark in any of the three games in this rivalry weekend against the A’s.”

Attendance is down around 2,000 fans per game around the Majors, a fact that shouldn’t really surprise anybody given the (lightning strike/thunder crash) struggling economy. But the drop in attendance for the Giants hasn’t really been that severe, as they’ve gone from averaging 35,346 tickets sold per game last year to 34,472 per game so far in ’09 (the A’s have had a steeper drop-off, with their attendance falling from 20,558 tickets sold per game in 2008 to just 17,120 this year).

What’s clear is fans still want to come and watch baseball, but they don’t want to get ripped off. My cousin and I just went to the A’s/Twins game last Wednesday simply due to $2 tickets and $1 hot dogs. Online deals are prevalent and often a bargain compared to buying tickets directly from the team.

While the average attendance isn’t that much lower in San Francisco, there will definitely be fewer sellouts this season, because just being there live isn’t enough anymore. These days, if the teams involved aren’t great, the view from our seats better at least be decent.

Sitting in the View Reserved section behind the left field foul pole at AT&T? That’s not a good value. All You Can Eat seats in the upper deck of the Coliseum, next to a giant tarp? Unless your main priority at a baseball game is to lose a couple of belt notches and double your cholesterol, a seat that far away at $35 a pop isn’t too tempting.

It’s not that there’s an attendance crisis in baseball, it’s just that fans aren’t as willing to put up with crappy seats or teams. Pretty tough to fault anybody with that mindset, really.

Giants and A’s mish-mash…a links casserole, if you will

–For all those who were worried about Matt Cain’s velocity, he had one of his best fastballs of the year yesterday. That is, if you trust radar guns, which I don’t. God, I hate traffic school. (Bay City Ball)

–Vin Mazarro (kind of a bummer he doesn’t go by “Vinny,” but oh well), Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill aren’t the next Big Three…yet. (Big Urb Baseball)

–Here an A’s fan congratulates Billy Beane for three transactions he didn’t make. If you wanted to know the difference between fans of the A’s and Giants, there you have it. Granted, Billy Beane is going to have Brad Pitt play him in a movie and has a pretty nice track record, but Brian Sabean wouldn’t be congratulated if he ended the war in Darfur by Giants fans or bloggers if the Giants were 27-35 and in last place in their division. (Athletics Nation)

“The potential problem, though, is the pitching can slump and there is no guarantee the offense will continue to hit in the clutch. In the end, you, I and the front office know that the Giants need a guy who at least can threaten to hit a three-run jack when the team is down three in the later innings.” About 8 hours after Henry Schulman posted this, Barry Zito gives up 10 hits and 7 ER in 3.2 innings. Jeez, even Dave Flemming’s jinxing capabilities aren’t that strong. (The Splash)

–John Bowker hit a 2-run homer tonight (his 9th) for Fresno, as the Grizzlies beat Sacramento 6-5 tonight. The losing pitcher? None other than Jerome Williams, who gave up 6 ER in 5 innings. Who does he think he is, Barry Zito? (McCovey Chronicles)

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