SBD/Issue 144/Franchises

MLB Team Notes: Brewers, Rangers See Dwindling Crowds

Though the game-time temperature was an "unseasonably warm" 84 degrees, last night's Pirates-Brewers game drew only 14,090 fans to Miller Park, the smallest crowd to attend a Brewers game at the new facility, according to Drew Olson (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/16). ABC Radio's Keith Olbermann, on the crowd: "Let's see how committed to this contraction idea Bud Selig really is" (ABC Radio, 4/16).

RANGERS: In Dallas, Gerry Fraley reports yesterday's Mariners-Rangers game drew 20,208 fans to The Ballpark in Arlington, the second-smallest crowd at the facility since '96. The total turnout for nine home games was 273,656, a 23% decline from the same number of dates last season. Southwest Sports Group Exec VP/Marketing Jeff Overton said that the Rangers "expected a decrease because of a drop in season-ticket sales" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/16).

INDIANS: Since opening day, the Indians have sold 60,000 single-game tickets, their "best two-week sales period since early February" when the team began selling individual game seats. The Indians have sold 2,351,000 tickets for the '02 season (BEACON JOURNAL, 4/16).

LET IT GO? CBS SPORTSLINE's Scott Miller writes that after "listening to fan feedback and with much thought, a handful of clubs are abandoning the playing of God Bless America on a nightly basis" during the seventh inning. The A's, Giants and Padres "now are playing it sporadically, but not habitually. And it is the right thing to do. ... The time comes ... to move on." Miller: "As baseball moves forward in its role as a social institution, it should spend its time negotiating a labor agreement and avoiding another work stoppage, not serving as an indefinite cheerleading coach for the rest of us" (CBS SPORTSLINE, 4/16).

SPRING TRAINING ATTENDANCE: The FL Sports Foundation notes that MLB spring training attendance in FL topped 1.5 million for the fourth straight year, with the Yankees ranking first with 172,544 fans attending 17 games at Legends Field in Tampa. A total of 1,538,444 fans attended 306 games at 19 sites throughout the state (BUSINESS JOURNAL OF TAMPA BAY, 4/12 issue). Overall spring training attendance in FL rose by 2% (Bill King, SBJ, 4/15 issue).

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