Much is being made of all the empty seats this week at Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox. Generally speaking, I'm never really moved by pictures of empty seats in ballparks for many reasons, chief among them that there are 81 home games in a season and that's quite a bit different from any other sport. Still, this picture is pretty jarring from Tuesday's game:
That looks even more sparse than the Opening Day crowd on the movie "Major League," and they did that for effect.
Also, this is quite amazing. The announced attendance by the White Sox for Monday's game was 10,377, but that's how many tickets were sold. Anyone who watched the game knows that there weren't near that many people there. Here's the amazing part:
Less than a thousand people! I honestly would've guessed a lower number, actually, but it's likely that all 974 people weren't in their seats at the same time very often, due to concessions, restroom visits and finding ways to stay warm.
Indeed, the weather matters here. A lot of things matter. One of the reasons I said I'm not really moved by sharing pictures of empty seats is because I hate shaming fan bases. Are we actually going to make fun of White Sox fans for not going to these two games? Consider the following.
- The White Sox grounds crew had to clear off snow for Monday's game. It was likely many ticket-holders assumed the game would be cancelled. Instead, it was 35 degrees with 11 mile per hour wind at the time of the first pitch. Tuesday, it was 43 degrees at the time of the first pitch. Further, Monday's game was originally scheduled to be a night game, but the White Sox elected to move it up due to the cold weather.
- The White Sox are still in rebuild mode and sit 3-7 after Tuesday's loss.
- The Rays aren't exactly huge a draw as an opponent.
- These were day games during the work week. I have no doubt that all the people shaming fans for not showing up would love to use a vacation in order to watch a sub-par team play a pretty bad team in 35 degree weather after a last-minute time change, right? Yeah, of course you would. I totally believe you.
- Finally, it's not exactly an awesome ballpark but it could have been! .
The announced attendance for Tuesday was 10,069, but you saw the picture toward the top of the page here. There was basically nobody there. It's hard to blame them. We can note the circumstances and be better than the point-and-laugh people here.