There’s got to be other folks out there who are as excited as I am about the Frederick Keys winning the Carolina League Championship!
Granted, the Keys aren’t my beloved Baysox or my beloved Orioles, but they might be some day. What is most exciting is that they are a local team. Last week when I attended a playoff game between the Potomac Nationals and the Frederick Keys in round 1 of the playoffs, I told my friends and coworkers it was going to be a good game because no matter who won, it would be my team!
However, as I read the box scores after each playoff game, I noticed a disturbing trend: low attendance. Sure, some of those days were wet and dreary and there were rain outs and rain delays. There were competing events as well, like the day of the lowest attendance – the 10th anniversary of 9/11. (I’m also mixing apples and oranges here – with some games being Keys v. P-Nats, and some being Keys v. K-Tribe, but it still suggests a trend.) If we can get close to 3,000 fans to attend the first game, where were they the rest of the time?
According to my handy-dandy Baseball America Directory (which no baseball fan should ever be without!), Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, MD, has a seating capacity of 5,400. Grainger Stadium in Kinston, NC (home of the Kinston Indians or K-Tribe), holds 4,100 fans. Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA, holds 6,000 people. And only 618 people were there last Sunday? I suspect this has nothing to do with marketing and team statistics. These are winning teams! I haven’t paid much attention to attendance statistics in recent years, so I don’t know if this is typical or not. What it suggests at first glance, however, is that people aren’t embracing their hometown teams as they should. What does that say about these communities?