The Web is all a titter about the true attendance of yesterday's game. I could link to all of them but I won't since this will do.
But not for a major-league baseball game on a sunny Wednesday.
Forget the announced attendance of 10,121 for the Marlins-Nationals game at Dolphin Stadium. When Byung-Hyun Kim threw the first pitch, 375 spectators could be seen. That is what happens when two of the worst teams in baseball meet for a 1:05 p.m. game on a 91-degree September afternoon.
OMG someone counted them. The sad part is that the count is probably pretty accurate. If you don't believe it, take a look for yourselves.
The attendance was so small that even a fan got tossed for heckling the umpire.
In the fifth inning of the Florida Marlins' 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, home plate umpire Paul Schreiber gave the thumb to an unnamed man seated behind the plate who had been verbally abusive throughout the contest.
"The fan was chirping at the umpire," Nationals catcher Brian Schneider said. "There was no need for it."
The man was so loud, and the atmosphere so quiet, the fan could be heard saying "you don't make more than me" on the television broadcast as he was forced to leave.
I've got news for the ump and Mr. Schneider: fans heckling the ump happens all the time in every park everywhere. Just because you can hear it doesn't make it more egregious. I can only imagine what a Yankee Stadium crowd would sound like with just a few hundred people. I can almost guarantee this: it would be worse than "you don't make more than me."
The Miami Hearld's lead into the article about yesterday's game was this.
Mike Jacobs, after the game, had this to say.
Several players noted the need for a new retractable-roof stadium.
"There was no crowd to talk about," Jacobs said. "It's a little sad, but that's the way it is down here. It's hot, and not much will change that unless we get a new [retractable-roof] stadium."
The Marlins continue to search for their own stadium, and talks have been plodding along for years.
Now, before you get all worried that I'm going to join the chorus that bashes the Marlins fans for not showing up to games, I would never. Had yesterday's game been in my backyard I couldn't have attended. Sadly, I'm not paid to attend baseball games and had to show up for my day job.
But there is a thought that has been troubling me for the past few days. Let's say that a retractable roof stadium is built in a decent location: Will the attendance increase appreciably?
I'm beginning to wonder. Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated.