When the Royals return to Kauffman Stadium next week for a season-ending home stand, their chances of making the playoffs will either be over or they’ll be an enormous long shot.
I can’t predict what the crowds will look like, but I believe that if the Royals were in the thick of the playoff hunt, Kauffman Stadium would be packed.
That’s not been the case at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is home to the Baltimore Orioles, who have a tenuous hold on the second wild-card spot in the American League. However, the Orioles are 20th in the league in attendance, averaging 26,440 fans per home contest (the Royals are 12th at 31,913, the highest average in the American League Central).
The Orioles have struggled to draw fans this week for a pivotal four-game series with AL East rival Boston. On Wednesday, there were 20,865 at Camden Yards. On Tuesday night, there were 20,387, while Monday it was 18,456.
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Orioles center fielder Adam Jones expressed his disappointment over the lack of fans on Wednesday.
“We’re going out there busting our tails,” Jones told Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. “The fans’ impact at Camden Yards is unbelievable. I think they know that. I think they understand that. The players understand that. Obviously, this week and this last home stand, this last 11 games, are arguably the most important games of the season. We’ve fought our tails off for 150 games to put ourselves into a unique situation in September. That’s what you say, you want to play important September baseball, and part of September baseball, especially if you’re in the East, is the fans.”
Jones said he wasn’t disappointed, but couldn’t understand why attendance was so lackluster.
“We grind and grind and grind,” Jones told The Sun. “I understand. There’s a lot of factors to it. The tickets are a little higher, but you can bring in your own food and beverages. You take in the marketing, promotions, I’m sure they’re not the best. I get all that, but I’m saying, the city wanted a winner. The last five years we’ve gotten a winner. I don’t know if they’ve gotten complacent on us from winning. I hope they haven’t, because winning is fun every single year. Being in this race is very exciting every single year.”
The Orioles’ attendance is down an average of 2,754 people per game this season. With so much on the line, Jones said it’s been odd to play before so few fans this week.
“I’d say that it’s just, it’s a little, what’s the right word to say it’s a little, you know, not sad, just like, eerie, a little bit,” Jones told ESPN.