On Friday, Cleveland opened its season on the losing end of a slugfest with the White Sox. Not the worst opening day possible, however much air Fausto Carmona's 3-inning, 10-run performance sucked out of the building—catching stud Carlos Santana went 3 for 5 with a homer.
But in the two ensuing games, Cleveland sold 9,853 and 8,726 seats, respectively. Add the two totals together, that's not even half the ballpark. And those numbers represent paid attendance, so they exclude whatever group didn't show up because it was 44 degrees out. These are the two lowest total attendance figures in the history of Jacobs/Progressive Field, and they came in the opening weekend of the season, when the promise of spring still tickles your nose hairs.
Moreover, Cleveland cut ticket prices after last season, and has some fairly terrific players, including Santana and Shin-Soo Choo. They have youngsters too, in Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta.
Said Jack Hannahan, "Cleveland fans are good fans. From the fan mail I get, I can tell they know baseball. This was like Oakland ... an Oakland crowd."
At least in Oakland, though, the ballpark's bad, whereas the Stadium Formerly Known As Jacobs Field, a scant few years ago, delivered 455 consecutive sellouts. This ballpark has—for better or worse— served as the model for others throughout baseball. (This is where Bud Selig might say, a-ha, we need a new ballpark, public money. And you resist the urge to slap him.)
Funny enough, the only event that has brought people to the Prog recently was this winter's "Cleveland Indians Snow Days" promotion, which is about as exciting as things get in Cleveland. It drew about 50,000 people in a little under two months.
But once the snow melted and gave way to the buds of spring, Cleveland headed back into the cushy malaise it's known even since before the LeBronukkah debacle of last year. Travis Hafner, a city turns its lonely eyes to you.