A Brief History of Attendance at Braves Home Games Inspired by Some Guy Named Zach Klein


WTF BFIB?

"Only fight the battles you can win, idiot." -Sun Tzu in "The Art of fWAR" (unpublished probably)


Now, I would normally ignore someone playing to the crowd a bit, but this was "General Hux's speech to the First Order troops that looked an awful lot like a Nazi rally" level pandering. It wasn't really, but I so wanted to use the "General Hux" line, because geek.


It wasn't nearly that bad, but it was laughably absurd when you contemplate such a hefty stone being cast so poorly from an awfully new glass house. I expect slightly more from someone with the title "Sports Director" for WSB Channel 2 in Atlanta. Leave the stupid, petty tweets to keyboard warriors such as myself, please.


The 9:00am start time notwithstanding, there is no defense for fans not showing up. It's not like people have to work on a Monday or anything. You simply can't have the "Best Fans in Baseball" moniker foisted upon you by snide detractors and not pack Busch before, during, and hours after a playoff game. It's been 8 long decad....sorry, years since your team won a World Series. It's been half a centu....sorry, decade since your team even made the playoffs.


But seriously, the lack of turnout is embarrassing. The 3.4 million paid attendance for the 2019 season is ho-hum stuff relegated to the pages of the newspaper you never read. The lasting impression could and probably should be the empty sections at an LDS elimination game. It's sad. You just never know when the last opportunity to watch Matt Carpenter glaring at an umpire in a playoff game will be.


Rest assured that plenty of people noticed the glaring omission of actual people, and many pointed it out just as Sports Director Cline did. That's obviously fair game, but then he attempted to shove his own foot up his own arse with a response to a Cards fan intent on defending the honor of the BFiB (both self-anointed and otherwise).



A "sellout" reflects paid attendance and not actual attendance. That's probably a semantic nuance for a term rarely used to describe a sporting event, so it's no surprise that a Sports Director at a major media outlet in a large city would make this mistake.


If Sports Director K'line really does consider paid attendance a good litmus test for evaluating a fanbase, then that's fine. We're right back to the stones, throwing, and glass dwellings thing.


What follows doesn't constitute at shot at Braves fans at all. This is just about one lonely, sad human noticing the splinter in his brother's eye while ignoring the log in his own eye.


The Braves average paid attendance for 2018 regular season home games was 31,552 (2,555,781 total) which represents roughly 76.8% of capacity for Cobb County Tax Payer Albatross Park. The Cardinals averaged 42,019 (3,403,587) paid attendance, and that's 95.6% of capacity. For 2019, the Braves averaged 32,776, and the Cardinals posted a 42,967 average, so the Braves are definitely catching up (not really, but mathing is hard).


With a population of roughly 6 million, Atlanta is among the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the US. St. Louis has less than half that and ranks around 20th overall.


Again, this isn't about taking a shot at Braves fans. Facts are facts. These numbers don't lie, but that doesn't mean that they tell the whole truth either.


A lot of factors (boredom, lack of other sports options, addiction to crappy beer) go into attendance numbers. Accessibility, competition for discretionary spending on entertainment, weather (especially rain), and crappy replica trophy giveaways are among those factors. Atlanta is a much different place than St. Louis, and the Braves have a much different place in Atlanta sports culture than the Cardinals have in St. Louis sports culture.


To a certain degree, we're talking apples and peaches here. Attempting to distill the discussion about relative "good" for fanbases down to a single deciding factor is difficult at best and foolhardy at worst. I'm not going to jump on a pulpit and proclaim that St. Louis fans are better than Atlanta fans, and I'm definitely not going to compare the two.


I mean I'm going to compare the two, but I'm not lifting one up by pushing the other down.


As a matter of fact, I'm going to defend Braves fans here. They could be suffering from playoff fatigue to some extent. That's what happens when you cough up significant chunks of US currency in exchange for seats to well in excess of 1 playoff game over the previous 5 seasons. It's harder to justify spending on regular season games when you also need to save for those annual trips to the playoffs.


Wait, my bad. They deserve to be defended....all of them except for the Tomahawk Chop defenders and the "Chipper Jones isn't a racist despite his racist tweet about defending the border" apologists. Hopefully, that leaves the bulk of the fans as I'm hoping most are truly rationale, empathetic human beings, and I'm not going to truly trash them.


I'm also definitely most certainly not going to rant about some Sports Director Extraordinaire stirring the pot. That's his job, or at least that's probably his job.


Actually, I have no idea what is job is, because "Sports Director" sort of implies that he directs sports, so that title is either misleading, or directing sports is actually a thing. The whole thing is nebulous and confusing much like this blog post.


At least this post is intentionally nebulous and confusing. I could have picked a point and made it succinctly in a myriad of ways. Instead, I meandered and drifted and moved it side-to-side (Ariana Grande reference minus the dick bicycle part). The point here is that Sports Directory Kline could have made his point and done so with better verbiage.


"I realize that St. Louis is a baseball city, but the empty sections really seem out-of-place. Really poor showing."


Something like this would've gotten the point across without becoming a thing, but there is no such thing as bad publicity, so YOLO Sports Director Klien. Here's to hoping that in the future you really are better than keyboard warriors such as myself.


Love,

#dennis