The only thing worse than how the New York Yankees played in their series against the Baltimore Orioles this week was the number of people in the seats. The Yankees announced just over 31,000 people on Monday, and just over 30,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Quite frankly, those numbers seemed generous as to the amount of people actually there.
Empty seats have been an issue for the Yankees in recent seasons, but this was a new low. They're averaging 40,007 fans this season, which is good for fourth in MLB, but nowhere near where they were in the previous decade when Yankee Stadium was sold out even in meaningless games. So, why the especially low turnout even for current times for these critical games?
When I was watching the Yankees on Monday I happened to flip over to the Mets and Nationals game in Washington, and it was right before Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam to put the Nationals up 5-4 after being down 4-1 in a huge game for them. Even on the pitches before the grand slam everybody in the stadium was loud, standing and cheering, and the grand slam almost tore the stadium down it got so loud. Realize, the Nationals are the most disappointing team in MLB this season, and their fans have a right to be ticked at them. Yet, you couldn't tell any of that by the way the fans were supporting them and that there were no empty seats that I saw (forget about Bryce Harper's criticism).
It really made me think about why I was watching a big Yankees game with the stadium quiet and rows of empty seats. It can't just be the issues with the new stadium that we have heard about forever. Is it as simple as just the ticker prices? You can still get into Yankee Stadium for extremely reasonable prices on StubHub.
My question to Yankees fans is are you enjoying this season? I know the answer for me is yes 100 percent. The Yankees have far exceeded expectations, have been resilient at every turn with comeback wins, have played well against good teams, have had exciting young players come up to the Bronx and have had some star players turn back the clock. The Yankees have gone toe to toe with a juggernaut in Toronto and have managed to keep pace with a team that is more talented and now have their biggest regular season series in years. It's been a lot of fun. What more can you ask for?
Yet, the sense I get is that it still hasn't been enough for some fans. I hate to paint a broad brush with what may be just the loud minority on Twitter and some of the WFAN calls I heard yesterday, but it's hard to ignore. The Yankees currently have over a 98% chance of making the postseason according to FanGraphs and are still right there for the division, yet you would think the sky is falling because they lost a series to the Orioles. This is after they had won eight of their previous ten games. Obviously, they shouldn't have lost that series and their play was horrible, but it certainly isn't the end of the world after winning eight of your last ten.
So, I wonder if this overall negative attitude about the team is why people aren't showing up to the ballpark.The fans said they wanted younger players and the Yankees have delivered on that, but it hasn't done anything to change the attendance numbers or the angry Twitter mob. Is it going to take the Yankees winning 100 games a year again for fans to show back up? Hopefully that is not the case, but if this team is getting no love you wonder if it that's what it's going to take.
It will also be interesting to see if this makes Hal Steinbrenner take out his checkbook for David Price this winter. Maybe if it does this will be a good thing in the future, but if the attendance for this Blue Jays series is similar to the Oriole series it will be pretty sad to watch in the present.