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Marlins attendance in new park is . . . not all that unusual

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
Five games into their new ballpark's history, the Marlins couldn't even sell 25,000 tickets for a game against the Cubs.

Terrible, isn't it?

Or maybe it isn't.

We think of new ballparks as being full ballparks, at least in the first year. Some are.

But our memory is selective.

You know what the Tigers drew in their second game ever at Comerica Park? 21,405.

Yes, it was cold that day. Yes, the Tigers were coming off a run of bad years. But they also had 100 years of history that the Marlins don't have, a history of fans going to games that the Marlins don't have.

The Indians had a sub-25,000 crowd six games into Jacobs Field's history. That was such an indication of attendance problems that they went on to have a then-record 455-game sellout streak.

The Nationals, White Sox, Reds, Brewers, Pirates and Rangers all had at least one sub-25,000 crowd within the first 10 games in a new park.

The point? It's not that big a deal that the Marlins didn't draw 25,000 on Tuesday (or on Thursday), even if CNN decided that the "small crowd" was a sign that fans were upset with Ozzie Guillen.

The Marlins could still have attendance issues. Their season-ticket base of around 15,000 strikes others as smallish for a new park, even though the Marlins themselves say they're very happy with it. Some believe that the ballpark's location in Little Havana, and the traffic and parking issues that go along with it, will keep fans away.

The Marlins believe that when people go to the new park, they'll like it so much that they'll come back -- and bring their friends.

We'll see. Just don't judge it on one or two crowds.

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