Knuckleballs

Chicken
Baseball has a family atmosphere and while we can point to winning as a major contributing factor to attendance, it isn’t the only thing. Why does one 3rd place team still get people to come to the park while another doesn’t? It sure isn’t ticket prices. Why do you go to a game? Is it your favorite player, because the smell of ballpark food and the yell of “BEER HERE!”?

Attendance is such a poor stat.  Paid attendance is even worse.  Attendance states the number of people who actually showed up. Paid attendance is those who showed up plus the poor shmucks that paid for tickets but never used them.  So get your pencils ready because it is time for a POP QUIZ HOTSHOT!

Identify the following teams:
Team A: Averages 34,744 fans a game, finishes 3rd
Team B: Averages 24,021 fans a game, finishes 2nd
Team C: Averages 53,070 fans a game, finishes 3rd
Team D: Averages 41,194 fans a game, wins division
Team E: Averages 42,254 fans a game, wins World Series

These 5 teams averaged 39,056 fans a game, won a division and a World Series.
Can you identify them?

No, how about now (in order of appearance):

2008 Astros, Rangers, Yankees, Angels and Phillies

Identify the following teams:

Team A: Averages 37,190 fans a game, finishes 4th
Team B: Averages 37,278 fans a game, finishes 3rd
Team C: Averages 40,489 fans a game, finishes 3rd
Team D: Averages 38,759 fans a game, finishes 2nd
Team E: Averages 20,394 fans a game, finishes 5th

Pick them out yet?

2013 Phillies, Angels, Yankees, Rangers and Astros

Both 2013 and 2008 New York Yankee teams came off of losing playoff series and winning 85+ games. Why the 13K drop off in attendance? Was it because they finished 8 games back over the World Series runner up Tampa Bay Rays? What about the Rangers?  They were 21 games behind the Angels. They had no shot of sniffing the playoffs.  The Astros could have made a run if it wasn’t for losing 8 of their last 14.

What caused the drop off or increase in attendance? Was it lowering ticket prices or special events? Speaking of special events…

One of my most favorite games to go to was not when Nolan Ryan was on the mound, but because the “Famous Chicken” was in town. I came to watch a ballgame, drink some beers and by chance Nolan was pitching. We were drinking beer like it was free, well because my friend John was buying, the beer was free, and as the game preceded I in my stupor, looked at the scoreboard. I was about to point when John slapped my hand down and said, “Not a word or you walk home,” which was funny since we had driven my car there.  Sometimes it isn’t the team, because this team sure as hell wasn’t special, or that someone else is buying the beer, but because the “Famous Chicken” was in town that I got to see Nolan Ryan’s 7th no-hitter.

As fans we need to examine why we go to a game. We go for more than winning, because Globe Life would be empty once the Rangers hit last place in the A.L. West. We go for more than watching a game, because with 3,000 cable channels (okay, maybe not that many), we have options to watch better games.  We go for the same reason that fans pour into Frisco to watch double-A ball. For the pure love of the game baseball that ushers in spring each year.

So enjoy the ice cream days, Firework Fridays, special promotion nights and just go out to a game for the hell of it. Because you never know when something special is going to happen.

Rangers Magic Number
Who is Rangers Magic Number? Who cares? I could tell you about the ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, managing bands and getting favors from Globe Life Employees parking where I am not ever supposed to be able to but all that would do is make you angry.

RMN is the fan in all of our hearts, the one who brings out the Rangers jersey in March with hope & dreams of a World Series win, carefully packing it away in October with a tear in his eye. RMN believes and loves his team, still having somewhere a Rangers Bat Day bat that he got the year after we broke bleachers banging away as we faced the Royals.

I am a lucky man, married to a Rangers fan who loves me for who I am, a crazy fan. I do have many Ranger memorabilia, but my most treasured is a Nolan Ryan baseball. My son took it out of its case one day to play catch with me before he learned how close to a heart attack a Rangers fan can get when that happens. (We still played catch with a Oddibe McDowell baseball, don't ask.) I've been to Rangers games in Dallas, Houston and will eventually make it to Surprise. I've been working as an managerial consultant for many years and spend too many afternoons in meetings & phone calls but still cheer when I get to say HELLO WIN COLUMN!

I guess I am very lucky because of the people that I have met on this journey. We have drank a lot of whiskey and celebrated more victories than losses. So I look forward to meeting you down the road.

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