BASEBALL'S BACK: HEY, WHERE'D ALL THE FANS GO?
The reluctance of baseball fans to return to MLB stadiums in
droves this Opening Week is the focus of much media attention.
ABC's Armen Keteyian: "Baseball may be back but its vital signs
are decidedly mixed." Rangers President Tom Schieffer: "There's
going to be a period of time here that's going to be pretty hard"
("World News Tonight," 4/27). In this morning's WALL STREET
JOURNAL, Frederick Klein notes the fans' threats to get "revenge
by staying home," and writes, "Sure, we nodded, we've heard that
before. But maybe more attention should have been paid to them"
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/28). ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "It is far
too early to suggest that the near- boycott conditions will
continue in whole or in part, but if they do, the decline from
'94-95 might be the steepest attendance drop since the Players
League War of 1890" ("SportsCenter," 4/27). ESPN's Peter
Gammons: "I'd really like to thank the players union for
threatening to strike the All-Star game. I mean, let's try to
keep the fans away and turned off as much as possible. That's
just ridiculous" ("Baseball Tonight," 4/27). NEWSDAY's Steve
Zipay notes that ratings were up in New York for both the
Yankees' home opener on MSG and the Mets road opener on
SportsChannel (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 4/28). Tonight's "Nightly Business
Report" will report on the business of baseball (PBS, 4/27).
AROUND THE LEAGUE: In Toronto, Jim Proudfoot calls
yesterday's 31,073 crowd -- the smallest ever at SkyDome --
"downright worrisome" (TORONTO STAR, 4/28). Although the
official count for yesterday's Braves game was 26,120, I.J.
Rosenberg reports an actual crowd of 10,000-16,000 and cites
"obvious distaste for major league baseball" (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 4/28). The Giants expect 30,000 for today's home
opener, around half of what they drew last season (SAN FRANCISCO
CHRONICLE, 4/28). Finally, the Mets have only sold 20,000 for
tonight's opener (N.Y. POST, 4/28).