You’d think with Citizens Bank Park going to full capacity, and fans itching for maskless summer normalcy in these parts, that the result would be a packed house in South Philadelphia for baseball.
That has not happened:
Tonight's Phillies attendance is 13,552, which is the third-smallest crowd in Citizens Bank Park history when the ballpark is open to full capacity.
Last night (13,125) was the smallest in history and June 4 (15,030) was the fourth smallest.
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) June 10, 2021
It seems like it was only yesterday that CBP was the place to be, with the parking lots totally stuffed and the sellout streak alive and well. The Phillies were the hottest ticket in town and the Eagles took a back seat on sports talk radio (seriously, the Birds were actually topic #2, if you can believe it).
So what gives?
I guess it’s sustained mediocrity. The Phils haven’t been to the playoffs in nine seasons, which was also the last time they actually had a winning record. In 2011. You fast forward to 2021 and they’re 29-31 and third place in the NL East despite having a high payroll, a World Series-winning GM, and a World Series-winning manager. Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak are long gone, but interest remains stagnant.
The other thing is ticket and food prices. Say you’re a dad with a wife and two kids. You want to go down to tonight’s game and sit in the terrace over third base. Not bad seats, but not amazing seats. Just average seats. At $38 a pop, times four, that’s $152, and then you throw in some overpriced food, a couple of drinks, parking, etc. Next thing you know, you’re looking at $250, minimum, to take your family to the game, then you have to watch the Phillies commit errors and hit into the shift and strikeout and/or not even put the ball in play for large stretches at a time.
When you compare that possible experience to other outings, it’s no wonder people are choosing the latter.
But winning cures all, and fans will come back when a decent product is put on the field. Guaranteed. Maybe there’s also some lingering COVID hangover, but this is a baseball town and it’s crazy to see the ballpark this empty.