Orioles Struggle To Draw Fans Despite Leading A.L. Wild Card Race
The Orioles have “been on a roll the past few weeks,” but fans appear to be "holding out for a winning team before returning to Camden Yards,” according to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN. Attendance was 10,995 for Monday night's game against the White Sox, who “happen to be leading the AL Central right now and very possibly could be a playoff opponent” for the Orioles. Schmuck: "It was the first day of school for a lot of kids in the area, and you can string together all sorts of reasons why the O's drew their second-smallest home crowd of the year, but still, not even 11,000 fans showed up for a very important game against a highly competitive team just days before the start of the September stretch?” The “excuse du jour when an announced 12,841 turned out Tuesday night was the ongoing preparations for this weekend's Grand Prix of Baltimore.” Low attendance is "just another symptom of a fan malaise that is going to take more than one exciting season to cure.” It could take “another year or more of winning baseball to put a big dent in the hard-earned cynicism of Birdland's silent majority.” Orioles CF Adam Jones said, "We've got to keep winning and keep winning for a long time and make them believe.” Schmuck writes if the Orioles “continue to win, they will most certainly come, but never in the numbers that passed through the turnstiles of the ballpark when it was still an architectural revelation in the late 1990s” (Baltimore SUN, 8/29). In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd wrote of Monday’s attendance, “It was an astonishingly small crowd for a pennant contender.” Cowherd: “And the Orioles deserve better. Much better. … I keep waiting for the fans to come back in droves and embrace this team, but it hasn’t happened yet” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 8/28).
DOLLARS AND CENTS: FOXSPORTS.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that a footnote to the Orioles’ acquisition of P Joe Saunders from the D’Backs in exchange for P Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named was that the Orioles also received “cash considerations.” Rosenthal wrote, “It raised the question: Are the Orioles able to add payroll?” Orioles GM Dan Duquette said, “I was just trying to stay within our budget. Our budget is based on the revenue generated by the team.” Rosenthal wrote, “That revenue likely is disappointing, considering that the Orioles are drawing modestly despite being tied for the American League wild-card lead” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/28).