The Major League Baseball playoff pushes are getting down to the wire. In the American League, there are six teams battling for two playoff spots. In the National League, three teams are battling for two playoff spots.
Most ballparks around the league are filled with screaming fans that are trying to help push the team to the postseason. The key word there was most. In Tampa Bay and Cleveland, you will be hard-pressed to see many folks in attendance. The Rays and Indians are two of the six teams that are fighting for the final two playoffs berths in the American League. However, the teams are lacking to fill the stadiums, something that should not be an issue. As of this writing, the Rays currently hold the first wild card spot, while the Indians trail the Texas Rangers by a half game.
Speaking of the Rangers, they currently started a crucial three-game series against the Rays in Tampa Bay. In game one of the series, Tropicana Field played host to 10,724 fans. That number in mind, it’s hard to believe the Rays currently lead the wild card? This is completely unacceptable for a potential playoff tea. Obviously people can spend their money how they wish, but if the team were to make the playoffs, people will buy those tickets which are more expensive. There is another issue in Tampa Bay regarding the playoffs. The team had to give away tickets a few seasons ago when they were in the postseason, pathetic to say the least.
Tampa Bay isn’t the biggest market in the MLB; in fact, it’s one of the lowest. Despite the team turning around its losing ways over the past five years, the franchise cannot draw fans to the games. There are a multitude of reasons for this, one being Tropicana Field (which is a complete joke of a baseball stadium). The lease for the Trop expires in 2027. Hopefully, the Rays can get released from that lease.
Another reason for the lack of attendance in Tampa Bay is the lack of star power on the team. Most big-name players who have played for the Rays have gone on to greener pastures; by greener pastures, I mean more money by way of bigger market teams. The team has made a World Series appearance and won the AL East crown twice since 2008, yet they still lack people in the seats.
The Indians are not much better off in terms of attendance during a playoff push. Last Monday (9/9) and Tuesday (9/10), the Indians had around 9,000 and 12,000 fans respectively. The game on Monday started an 11-game home stand, in which the Indians were trying to capitalize and make a playoff run. Unfortunately, the city of Cleveland doesn’t believe in them due to the team’s past. That shouldn’t make a difference, especially since the team has a good shot of making the playoffs (they have the easiest schedule of the teams battling for a wild card spot).
Cleveland is 28th in average attendance; averaging 19,435 fans per game in 2013 while the Rays rank 30th with an average of 18,638. That is extremely sad, while there is no exact the answer to this issue, something needs to be done. If said team in your city is battling for a spot in the playoffs, it could potentially lead to a World Series title. This should bring people to the stadiums in droves, but tragically it does not.