The Diamondbacks continue to win on the field but lose at the stadium. The ballclub keeps winning and have pulled away safely in the NL West. Arizona won their series with the Dodgers despite losing the finale last night 3-2.
The Diamondbacks lead the NL West by 7-1/2 games. Their magic number is down to six. Now the hunt is no longer on the NL West and playoff contention. Instead the Diamondbacks are focused on another feat, avoiding the dreadful Philadelphia Phillies who would have home field advantage in the NLDS. Ask any team in the National League and they will take playing at home against the Atlanta Braves over playing away against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Diamondbacks are currently tied with the Brewers for the second best record in the National League. Arizona has the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Brewers distractions (Prince Fielder announced he will probably leave the team after the season) to pass them up for home field advantage.
The Brewers face off against the Reds and Cubs on the road the next two series while the Diamondbacks face off against the Padres in San Diego then return home for the rest of their games. The edge seems to lean towards the Diamondbacks with how hot they have been playing but with baseball in September nothing is ever a sure thing.
The other issue with the Diamondbacks is attendance. One would think a team crushing the defending World Series champions would have no problem with attendance yet the Diamondbacks are struggling to fill the seats. The Diamondbacks average crowd is only 24,945 (just over 50% of their capacity). Even the Astros are beating out the Diamondbacks in attendance! Maybe Phoenix just doesn’t have the population to fill Chase Field on a consistent basis. Back in 2001 (the year Arizona) won the World Series they had an average attendance of 33,881 (or 75% of their capacity). Then in 2002 following the World Series win the Diamondbacks achieved an average attendance of 39,515 (88%).
The Diamondbacks can fill their stadium but why have they only had 2 sellouts this season? Their first was opening day while their second, recently was the reunion of the 2001 World Series team returning to Chase Field.
This is not a case of the Diamondbacks being exciting enough to draw crowds. Arizona leads the league in comeback wins this season. They have many home run hitters in Justin Upton, Gerrardo Parra, Ryan Roberts and Miguel Montero. They also have a stellar pitching staff including Cy Young hopeful Ian Kennedy. This also isn’t a one and done deal for the Diamondbacks. They have a very young core and have proven they are in this for the long haul with the way GM Kevin Towers has built this team.
Watching Arizona home games on television is a joke with a half empty stadium at most games. What can be done to fix this? A World Series might cure the problem. Darren Sutton the TV announcer for Arizona games constantly calls out fans to come to the games but what is the incentive?
Perhaps the focus should go to management? America likes to see winning teams if they are going to pay money for tickets. The Diamondbacks have a winning team leading their division and their games are exciting from start to finish. Diamondbacks tickets are one of the lowest prices in the league with an average ticket at $15.74. The prices are low and the baseball is state of the art. That is the exact recipe for a baseball fan’s dream… and yet no fans?
Bloggers, sports writers, and commentators can only bring up this topic so often. The issue seems to be with the Diamondbacks sales organization. Smaller market teams have less of a chance of having consistently good baseball. When the Diamondbacks have a season like this they must take advantage. Offering specials and pushing marketing must be done more and of course getting the sales managers to try to get first time fans back again and again is the key to getting this done. There is a huge difference between planning and execution.
Hopefully the Diamondbacks fans will start showing up in time for the playoffs. There would be nothing more embarrassing than a half empty stadium during the playoffs (as occurred in Tampa recently where Rays playoff tickets were given away and raffled off to entice fans to fill Tropicana Field).
About the Author
Written by Matthew Hesse
Matthew Hesse is currently located in Tucson, Arizona and he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors in Business Management in 2009. Graduated from Tiffin University with a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Sports Management in 2011. Recent intern with the Pro Exposure Basketball Showcase and Greene Sports Management. Fan of Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, and the University of Arizona Athletics.