San Francisco fans are happy to see that their team has nearly clawed back to .500. But by and large, we haven't actually gone to see them claw back to .500. The Giants' home games thus far are as poorly attended as they have been in years. In the last week alone, AT&T Park has set two new records for low attendance at Giants games.
The ugly one was last Wednesday's home game against the Padres. Moments into the game, Andrew Baggarly announced on his Mercury News Extra Baggs blog that the day game had the lowest announced attendance in the history of AT&T Park. The announced attendance was 26,593 -- a record low by a way substantial margin. The previous record low attendance at AT&T Park was 30,029 -- but last Wednesday's game was more than 3,000 fans under the previous low.
That's not just since we started calling it AT&T Park, as opposed to whatever random telephony service providers we were naming our stadium after in previous years. That's a record low since the Giants moved from Candlestick in 2000.
Another slightly less ignominious record was set in last night's 5-3 loss to the Dodgers. ESPN.com reported after the game that the announced attendance of 30,482 made last night's game the lowest-attended Giants-Dodgers game in San Francisco in nearly 14 years. There hadn't been so few fans at a Giants home game against the Dodgers since August 1995.
Why the record lows? Some of us just instictively blame former President George W. Bush for pretty much everything, but that seems perhaps a stretch here. And it's not just us. Forbes.com reports that MLB attendance is down 7% this year compared to last year, and last year was down season as well. Folks just aren't going to the games in this recession economy, and no amount of free bobbleheads is going to change that.
Look at the bright side, Peter Magowan. At least your empty seats aren't right in front of the television cameras.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer with "Tickets! Tickets! Who's looking for tickets? Anyone still need tickets?"