From SABR member Geoff Young at Baseball Prospectus on August 30:
A team cannot survive without the support of its fans. And although the Dodgers are not in imminent danger of going the way of the Montreal Expos, the glue that held the franchise together for so long—the people of first Brooklyn, then Los Angeles—has lost some of its adhesive qualities. To say that 2011 has been a difficult year for the Dodgers and their fans is to grossly understate things. In Los Angeles, a town not given to understatement, a host of on- and off-field issues have conspired to shake the faith of its baseball-loving citizens.
The severe beating of a fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, the ongoing ownership fiasco, and the generally poor play of a proud franchise with a rich history are just a few of the factors that have made this season such a disappointment. A team known for strong community support—the Dodgers have broken the 3 million mark in attendance in 14 of the past 15 seasons and perennially rank among the National League’s top draws—has seen that support erode.
Between 1958 and 1997 (inclusive), the Dodgers never finished lower than third in attendance in the National League. In 2011, they are on pace to slip below fifth place for the second time since 1918. That year, they were called the Robins, went 57-69, and ranked seventh out of eight teams.
Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14887 (subscription required)
Originally published: August 31, 2011. Last Updated: August 31, 2011.