With fewer stars at Yankee Stadium, fewer fans are watching

From Zach Schonbrun at the New York Times on July 2, 2013, with mention of SABR members Vince Gennaro and Wayne McDonnell Jr.:

At dusk on the first day of summer at Yankee Stadium, there was a gentle breeze blowing to left field as a rim of fading sunlight marched across the bleachers in right. It was, in every respect, a sweet Friday night for baseball, with the Yankees taking on a formidable division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The only thing wrong with the picture was the number of empty seats that remained visible in the stands as the game progressed — and the missing names from the Yankees’ lineup.

The attendance for the game was announced as being slightly more than 41,000, or about 9,000 short of capacity. That was a solid number for a regular-season game but not as robust as it might have been in other seasons in the Bronx, where the Yankees usually reign as the most distinguished name in American sports.

Through 41 home games this season, the Yankees have drawn nearly 106,000 fewer fans than at this point a year ago, a 6.1 percent drop that is almost twice as large as the overall decline in baseball. More than half a dozen other teams have had bigger attendance losses than the Yankees, but without exception they are teams that went from good to bad, at least for a while, or from bad to worse, or that play in cities without a notably intense fan base.

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/sports/baseball/with-fewer-stars-at-yankee-stadium-fewer-fans-are-watching.html

Originally published: July 2, 2013. Last Updated: July 2, 2013.