Phillies lagging at the gate, too

With plenty of seats to spare, fans in Section 207 watch the Phillies play the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
With plenty of seats to spare, fans in Section 207 watch the Phillies play the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Posted: August 23, 2013

The Phillies rank sixth in baseball this season with an average attendance of 38,418. That's pretty good for a fourth-place team.

In fact, more people paid Tuesday to watch them play the Colorado Rockies, another mediocre team, than in Baltimore, where the postseason-hopeful Orioles faced Tampa Bay.

But attendance issues are all relative, as the Phillies are learning.

Through 62 home dates, the Phils have averaged 6,007 fewer fans per game in 2013 than last season. That drop is eclipsed only by the sad-sack Miami Marlins, who are drawing 9,196 fewer people per game.

Since 2008, when the Phillies won the World Series, Citizens Bank Park has developed a reputation as one of the game's best atmospheres. From 2009 through last season - when the Phillies won with great frequency - the team averaged no fewer than 44,021 fans per game. And they peaked at 45,441 in 2011.

In 2007, they had 23 games in which fewer than 35,000 fans showed up. From 2010 to 2012, they had none. From July 2009 to August 2012, they sold out 257 consecutive games.

Of course, losing typically brings fewer fans to the ballpark. It is but one byproduct of the substandard play these Phillies have embodied.

Still, the Phillies are not complaining.

"We are on pace to exceed three million fans, making it eight out of 10 years that we have achieved this milestone," said Bonnie Clark, Phillies vice president of communications. "It shows the great fans we have."

True. On the other hand, fans who want to buy tickets now can get a bargain. According to philly.com, Tuesday's Rockies game had 20 seats going for $8 each on StubHub, and the face value of those cheapest upper-deck seats was $17 each. And more than a dozen of the $60 infield seats were listed at $40 or less.

For Thursday's game against the Rockies, more than three dozen seats were listed from $7 to $8 on Monday. And all sorts of seats are available for $10 or less through the end of the season.

While the Phillies' draw dipped this week, the Marlins went wild. Playing the red-hot Dodgers - yes, that was the reason - Miami drew 27,127 to Monday's 6-2 Marlins victory. It was the biggest crowd to see the Marlins at home in nearly four months.

Then, on Tuesday, in a 6-4 Dodgers win, attendance was 25,690, giving the Marlins their largest back-to-back crowds this year.

As for the Phillies, their current 38,418 average attendance would rank eighth in the franchise's 130-year history. So, despite the dip, all is not exactly lost. It's all relative.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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