Originally Posted by Lip Man 1
Ed Sherman weighs in on the Sox attendance issues:
"Regarding attendance. The Sox simply have not been an exciting team to watch. They hit a solo homer every now and then, but it is a momentary blip. Again, that stat: 67 games where they score three runs or less. That's not exciting baseball.
Who was their last high-average hitter at the top of the order? Who was their last guy to contend for the batting crown?
And who was their last true superstar player?
With the exception of Konerko in 2010, who still flew way under the radar, the Sox haven't had a superstar since Frank Thomas and even that lasted only a few years before he turned off the fans. It would be nice to get a Mike Trout in here one of these days.
Only one playoff appearance since 2005. Only 1 playoff victory. That says it all. Forget about the Cubs. It's all about that ballpark. You need to win consistently to attract fans. The Sox haven't done that. Even when they contended this year, I don't think fans felt they could pull it off.
And one more thing regarding attendance, the traffic, especially during the week, is killing them. I live in the Northern burbs, and it could take 90 minutes-2 hours to get to the Cell. The traffic is too much. As a result, I mainly go to the games on the weekends. Other North Side Sox fans (yes, we exist) have the same lament. I've told Brooks Boyer that is a major problem. Not sure the Sox can do anything about that."
Excellent points. I hadn't thought about the excitement/superstar theory. I can see it being a factor. Not the sole factor, but one of many.
Last playoff appearance was in 4 years ago and attendance has plummeted since then with season after season of disappointments plus a 2011-12 offseason where Sox management didn't exactly stoke promises of fielding a contender. The simple reality is that the Sox weren't going to suddenly reverse that over the course of a few months this season. This is as plain as day to me, but many people seem to want to ignore the fact that things work this way (maybe because it goes against their "Sox fans won't support their team" narrative).
Another problem is that there's apparently not much to look forward to for Sox fans right now. No promising prospects to entice fans (even if falsely) that more excitement is on the way. NO, no one is saying "hey, lets go to more Sox games because there's a ton of talent in Birmingham!" but I think it is a factor in that fans know that there's no one ready to step in next year and that it'll probably be more of the same band-aid fixes. The problem is that KW's way of running the team is to throw things together on the fly for attempted success and not have much organizational depth to either fill roster holes or trade for top-notch veterans or to have a team that makes the playoffs in successive seasons. This is good enough for a team that wins about 78-84 games year after year with a "surprise" playoff team every 5 years or so. But, those successful seasons are always fleeting and this is simply not enough to build up a bigger fan base for this team.
As Lip likes to point out, the Sox are the only of the original 16 teams to not make the playoffs in successive seasons. The Tigers just did it for the first time in decades. We'll have to wait until 2014...and probably longer for that to happen here.
The traffic issue is an interesting point. I'm sure it doesn't help for weeknight games.
Originally Posted by doublem23
The traffic is a nightmare, I'll admit that, but somehow the other team is able to overcome it despite being nowhere near an expressway and without any convenient parking so... I don't buy it completely.
Good question, but the Cubs have completely different factors going in their favor:
- much larger overall fan base
- huge concentration of affluent young people living by their park
- people who will go there more as Wrigley Field fans
- tourist crowd
I'm sure there are many Cubs fans who go to less games because traffic sucks for them too, but for every one of those fans, there are others from that list above to go to those games.
Someone might ask why traffic isn't a factor for other teams...maybe the Angels are a good example. I dunno. Each team has it's own unique circumstances. Maybe they can absorb the traffic problem because of other things going in their favor.