New MASN Post + Thoughts on Orioles Attendance
For those who missed it, my latest guest post for masnsports.com went live Wednesday morning. It’s probably my favorite one so far, so I hope you’ll give it a read. Here’s a quick excerpt:
Magic, at its core, is seemingly impossible things made real through human effort. When we see these things we’re given over to words like extraordinary. Fantastic. Amazing. These are all, you’ll note, imperfect and highly subjective terms. That subjectivity comes from where you fall on the mystical vs. purely pragmatic arc.
In baseball terms, a game-winning homer off the bat of Nate McLouth is magic. Adam Jones leaping over the wall to rob a home run is magic. The early successes of Manny Machado are all magic.
The 2012 Orioles are, well, magic.
Regardless of where the team goes from this point in the season with 34 games left, there really is no better word than magic for what they’ve accomplished. Their effort has made the seemingly impossible real. They’ve frustrated every statistician and poked a hundred holes in the worldviews of supposedly knowledgeable baseball observers from Boston to Los Angeles.
Now, some thoughts on the attendance.
I’ve been known once or twice (read: dozens of times) over the past few years to criticize Baltimore fans for not showing up to watch the O’s despite the shortcomings. My basic argument was that one can always find something to enjoy on any given night at the yard, win or lose. I still believe this.
And yet, I can’t muster any anger about the fact that fewer than 50k total fans showed up this week for a four-game series against the White Sox.
Why that is, I can’t fully say. Not because I don’t want to but because I don’t know. I think it has something to do with a combination of understanding and pity.
Understanding in the sense that this week had a lot going against it — Labor Day, Grand Prix prep, the start of school. This just wasn’t going to be a good week for attendance no matter what. Plus, the economy still sucks and a lot of folks don’t have the disposable income or time it takes to go to a game. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.
The pity part is broader. Any fan who still avoids the games out of some weird anti-Angelos sentiment and/or continued lack of belief in the team is missing out. Those folks don’t deserve our hate. We should feel sorry for them. And I do.
Mostly, I think attendance at this point is more a science project than anything else. I’m curious to see how things play out in September and I would love nothing more than seeing what happens with ticket sales should this team make the playoffs.
There will be a story about attendance at the end of the year. Right now, though, it’s too early to draw any conclusions. And there’s no need to when we have so much good stuff to look forward to on the field.