Marlins Park Season Attendance To Fall 500,000 Short Of Preseason Projections
The Marlins' final attendance in their first year at Marlins Park “will fall short of expectations by about 500,000 fans," according to sources cited in a front-page piece by Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. While Marlins Park “received mostly high marks for its distinctive looks and fan friendliness, just two games were sellouts in the 37,000-seat stadium." The Marlins will total "more than two million in home attendance for only the third time in franchise history," but the grand sum after today’s finale against the Mets “will represent the lowest figure" of any of the 11 major league ballparks that have opened since ’01. Marlins President David Samson said, “We were just never able to get any momentum on the field, and that impacted attendance.” Spencer writes Marlins officials for years "used the 'build it and they will come' mantra in their pitch for public funding to build a new climate-controlled ballpark with a retractable roof." But after a "robust inaugural" in April, "large sections of empty seats became the norm." Once the "novelty wears off, new ballparks almost always experience attendance declines" in their second season. Meanwhile, Samson acknowledged that the ballpark's cooling system "is a work in progress, as some seats located near the air vents can be unbearably chilly." Also, the sound system "is not crystal clear in some reaches of the ballpark, making it difficult to understand." But Samson said that "positives at the new ballpark far outweighed the negatives." He added that the Clevelander club in left field "was a big hit." Spencer: "So was Bobblehead Museum on the main concourse, as well as the Home Run Sculpture in left center." Additionally, the "parking hassles that plagued the ballpark at the start of the season subsided as fans got to know their way around" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/3).
REDEMPTION SONG: Spencer in a separate piece noted Adam Greenberg, who signed a one-day contract with the Marlins last week, recieved his first official MLB at-bat last night after striking out against Mets P R.A. Dickey. The at-bat “lasted all of 33 seconds,” but the Marlins Park crowd of 29,709 “offered him a standing ovation” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/3). Greenberg said of striking out, “The one thing that I knew that I was going to go up swinging, going down swinging, one way or another” ("Today," NBC, 10/3). Greenberg: “It was magical. The energy that was in the stadium was something that I have never experienced in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever experience that again” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/3). In Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Berardino notes Greenberg “had planned to do a curtain call, to acknowledge everyone who helped him get here." Greenberg wanted to recognize "not just the 29,709 in the stands at Marlins Park, but those 26,000 fans who signed an online petition at OneAtBat.com.” But then he “figured he really shouldn’t do that after striking out, so that was saved until the game ended two hours later” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/3).