Friday, August 2, 2013

Free Game

    The hot-dog guy is back! Well, he says he was never really away. He says he missed one game because of a doctor's appointment. I think it was more than that, but never mind: Across the street from the Clevelander entrance, you can get an excellent Italian sausage for $3, much bigger than a ballpark hot dog that costs twice as much. And cold bottled water is a buck. What a deal.
    So was the price the Marlins charged Orlando and me for the Thursday day game against the Mets. Old farts get in free on Thursdays. We figured we'd be stuck with tickets deep in the outfield and sneak around to better seats along the third base line. But no -- we were given Section 16, Row 21 -- right behind home plate, a great vantage point to watch the Marlins worst starter out-duel All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey for a 3-0 win.
    My contribution to the Marlins bank account: $8 for a rocky road ice cream cup. Orlando bought a Pepsi.
    Today, Doug Hanks has an excellent story in The Herald about sagging attendance at Marlins Park. A lot of fans -- including me -- are bitter about how the owners have flip-flopped on commitments.  I attended 20-plus games last year. This year it'll be more like 10.
    Hanks reports that the decline in Marlins attendance this year is 37 percent -- 10,000 fans a game -- compared to last year. Only Tampa Bay reported a bigger decline of first-versus-second year attendance -- 38 percent.
    In fact, Florida is just a lousy place for baseball attendance. the last-place Marlins are drawing 17,976 this year -- second worst in the league, according to ESPN. Worst is Tampa, at 17,916 -- and Tampa is batting for first place in the super-tough American League East.
    But I'll bet that Tampa fans are probably paying full price for tickets or close to it. I wonder: Did Orlando and I count for official paid attendance of 25,916 on Thursday? Certainly those thousands of camp kids did, probably getting in at a tiny fraction of full ticket price.

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