30, 30, 29, 28, and 30. These numbers represent where the Florida Marlins rank in attendance amongst all the teams in Major League Baseball from 2007 to current. There are 30 teams in MLB, which means the Marlins finished last 3 times in the past 5 years.
Since the Marlins entered the league in 1993, the team has had issues drawing crowds to all their homes games. Some blame the "ballpark," others blame the weather being too hot in Florida, and a few blame it on poor ownership.
On July 11, the Marlins announced that they will be closing the upper deck for all remaining 2011 home games. The ownership said by allowing this, the team will save money on operating costs. In addition, the fan atmosphere at the ballpark will be increased due to more fans sitting together. Now, the Florida Marlins can concentrate bringing fans into their new ballpark that opens in 2012.
To me, this does not sound like a city where the fans flock to the ballpark on a weekend. According to the article, the upper deck was only opened for Friday & Saturday home games (in case there is an overflow of fans who decide to show up). I understand that closing off the upper deck for all home games make sense, especially when no one is going to be sitting there. However, have you ever heard of a team that blocks off a large area of their stadium for a significant period of time, because they know the fans won't show up?
Next year, when the Florida Marlins stop playing in a stadium meant for football to play in a state-of-the-art ballpark, will the fans show up? It's hard to say. In 2003, the Marlins won the World Series and finished 28th in total attendance. The following year, their attendance increased....by only 2 spots. When the Marlins had a winning team, they could not attract the fans. Currently, the team sits in last place in the National League East.
When they open the new ballpark in April, it would be great to see the Marlins fans showing up and selling out the upper deck, lower deck, and outfield areas. Don't just show up to see the new ballpark. Head to a Marlins game to cheer on your team!
I hope the picture below will not be a glimpse of the attendance in years to come.