Stat-urday, 4/21/2018

Yesterday I wondered how much the weather has really impacted attendance this season. Aside from postponing games, Mother Nature may be only partly be the cause of declines in attendance, which is about 10 percent less than last year. So, what has attendance been this year? reports the following attendance numbers:

2017 Rank  Team  2017 Attendance (full season)  2018 Attendance (as of 4/19/18)
1 LA Dodgers 46,492 46,793
2 St. Louis 42,567 39,052
3 San Francisco 40,785 39,724
4 NY Yankees 39,835 36,589
5 Toronto 39,554 27,490
6 Chicago Cubs 39,500 34,559
7 LA Angels 37,278 38,943
8 Colorado 36,464 32,392
9 Boston 36,020 33,301
10 Milwaukee 31,589 33,287
11 Washington 31,172 26,707
12 Texas 30,960 27,695
13 Atlanta 30,929 28,070
14 NY Mets 30,757 28,735
15 Houston 29,674 37,289
16 Detroit 28,661 19,805
17 Kansas City 27,754 17,646
18 San Diego 26,401 27,631
19 Seattle 26,363 25,636
20 Arizona 26,350 27,211
21 Minnesota 25,640 19,827
22 Cleveland 25,285 16,951
23 Baltimore 25,042 17,899
24 Philadelphia 24,118 28,432
25 Pittsburgh 23,696 13,733
26 Cincinnati 22,677 20,749
27 Chicago White Sox 20,626 15,325
28 Miami 20,395 13,171
29 Oakland 18,446 17,138
30 Tampa Bay 15,670 16,347

Is Mother Nature to Blame?

baseballandsnow_crop_340x234As of Monday, 24 Major Leagues had been postponed because of weather so far this season, as well as numerous Minor League Baseball and college games. A lot has been said about the impact of weather on baseball this season, from the large number of postponed games to questions about how such decisions made. Many have also been left to wonder if weather has impacted stats and attendance, or if some team’s slow starts can be blamed on more than just the weather.

So far, MLB attendance is down by about 10 percent this year. But is Mother Nature really to blame? On April 9, the Baltimore Orioles set the record for their lowest attendance EVER, with just 7,915 fans present. (Yes, there was that April 29, 2015, post-rioting game when no one in attendance, but that doesn’t count.) Of course, we can’t be sure of the cause of that night’s low attendance. it could have been the weather (44 degrees at the start of the game), the day of the week (Monday), or the opponent (Toronto, which traditionally draws smaller crowds to Camden Yards). On the other hand, it could have been the Orioles dismal performance thus far this year or their ongoing reluctance to hire decent pitchers.

Absent a detailed statistical analysis of the correlation between weather and attendance, we can simply take a look at Attendance this season. So far this year, the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Angels, and Astros are leading in average attendance per game, averaging between 37,000 and more than 46,000 tickets sold. The Marlins, Pirates, White Sox, Rays, and Indians A’s are at the bottom of the attendance rankings, ranging from 13,000 fans per game to just under 17,000. For some of those teams, I seriously doubt weather has anything to do with either their attendance numbers.

So, maybe we need to stop blaming Mother Nature. Maybe we need to question MLB’s owners, GMs, managers, players, and fans. Or maybe it’s a larger societal issue. More research is needed. Any thoughts?

Happy Earth Day!

~ baseballrebecca

Baseball Sociology and Meteorology

Potomac Nationals Grounds Crew, July 20, 2015

Potomac Nationals Grounds Crew, July 20, 2015

With the postponement of several baseball games on Saturday (resulting in a fabulous Sunday of double headers!) and the tornado warnings in St. Louis last night (prompting some to second-guess whether the nationally televised Cardinals-Cubs game should have started at all), it seems like it’s time for a quick post on baseball and the weather. In fact, just last week the National Weather Service observed National Lightning Awareness Safety Week.

So, here’s a brief rundown of recent articles on the relationship among baseball, weather, and sociology:

  •  Recently, the Washington Post clued us in to “How the Nationals make high-pressure weather decisions.”
  • Sky over Prince George's County Stadium, June 23, 2015 (photo courtesy of the Bowie Baysox)

    Sky over Prince George’s Stadium, June 23, 2015 (photo courtesy of the Bowie Baysox)

    Last Tuesday, several teams experienced amazing colors in the sky as storms approached or departed the local area, including: Chicago, Washington (check out the cool pic by none other than Bryce Harper), Boston, and Bowie (see the Baysox photo to the right).

  • In April, USA Today, reported that “Mike Trout also is baseball’s best meteorologist.”
  • Even stadiums with roofs, like Minute Maid Park, haven’t been safe from the rain this year.

Hopefully there are no rain-outs in your future!

~ baseballrebecca