Empty Seats At Yankee Stadium For Tanaka's Home Debut Raises Questions
Yankees P Masahiro Tanaka last night made his home debut at Yankee Stadium to "vast areas of empty seats and virtually no buzz," and while the crowd was announced as 39,412, that number "appeared to be inflated by between 5,000-10,000," according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN N.Y. However, there "are several possible explanations" for the lack of buzz, including the fact that the "early April cold weather kept a lot of people snug and warm at home in front of their TV sets." Moreover, the "exorbitant prices scared many off," and a "great number of Yankees fans ... aren't quite sold on this team yet." Last night's game "should have been an event, if only because of the preseason hype surrounding Tanaka and the fact that so far he has performed pretty darn well." It "was surprising to see how many fans chose to ignore the first home start by the most sought-after pitcher in this year's free-agent market" (ESPNNY.com, 4/10). Meanwhile, a N.Y. TIMES editorial states the first week and a half of the '14 MLB season "has produced some especially bleak scenes" when it comes to attendance. On Tuesday, there "weren't many fans watching" Rays-Royals, Padres-Indians or Astros-Blue Jays, "where the roof was closed." And there "were some very small crowds last week, too." It is "impossible to know for sure just how bad some of these turnouts have been," as the "only data baseball releases is tickets sold" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/10).