Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fans? What Fans?

If the seating capacity at Camden Yards is cut by 4% but no one ever attends any games, will anyone notice?

I stumbled across this article today that made me angry enough to remember my BWP password and make my first post in over a year. In case you are too lazy to click links, let me summarize the article for you:

The Baltimore Orioles are tired of the embarrassing sight of 48,290 empty seats during meaningless September baseball games so they decided to decrease the stadium seating capacity to 45,971.

They are disguising this move as a stadium upgrade, installing more spacious seating in the upper decks and club level. This, plus the addition of less intrusive railings, are supposed to improve the sight-lines and "fan experience" at Camden Yards.

I don't even know where to start with this.

First of all, I wish the Orioles would stop insulting the intelligence of their fans. We all know that the only thing that will improve the fan experience in Baltimore is winning. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, with no obstructed view seats and cheap tickets. The stadium is not the problem with this team. Should money really be wasted on thinner railings and bigger seats when the O's can barely attract 15,000 fans a game?

Also, how sad is it that this team has fallen so far that seats actually have to be removed from the stadium? I remember in the 90's when the team was regularly competitive, they had to add seats and the standing room only section was frequently sold out.

The city of Baltimore is a passionate sports town. The Ravens attract 70,000+ fans every home game and they have sold out each and every game since they have come to town. The Orioles need to prove to their fans that they are dedicated to winning; an impact free agent signing or a big trade. Until then, no stadium "improvements" or other stupid ideas will attract any fans.

I hope, one day, when there are not enough tickets to meet the heavy demand for a big home playoff game, the Orioles regret getting rid of those seats. But, judging by the general ineptitude of the franchise over the past 15 years, I fear that day may never come.

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