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SBD/April 5, 2011/Franchises
Cubs See Smallest Crowd At Wrigley Since '02 For Monday's Win Over D'Backs
Published April 5, 2011
NOT WHAT WAS EXPECTED: In Chicago, Ed Sherman writes the attendance issue has to be a "stunning development" for the Cubs, and it "has to be a sobering moment for owner Tom Ricketts and his crew." The "backlash from fans after two terrible years, plus six straight playoff losses in 2007 and 2008, is intense," and rising ticket prices "don't help." Any attendance drop "will be felt" by Ricketts. With a "high payroll and heavy debts to finance the acquisition, he doesn't have much margin for error." The weather in Chicago yesterday at the start of the game was around 40 degrees with a light drizzle, but Sherman notes that "can't be an excuse." The smallest crowd at Wrigley Field last April was 36,660 (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 4/5). The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton said, “You’ve got to be a little nervous because there just isn't that much juice about the team to begin with. The expectations aren't that high, and a lot of the currency you have early in the season is people trying to fool themselves into believing in a team until proven otherwise. But apparently, no one has decided to even bother with that at this point." The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh said, “I don't think there's any doubt that this is a concern with the Ricketts family. Going into this season, ending last season, attendance was an issue that they knew they would have to address at some point some how." Haugh added of the product at Wrigley Field, "It was recession-proof. I don't know if it is anymore" ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 4/4).