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Blue Jays Worst Draw on the Road

TORONTO AP--The Toronto Blue Jays may own the best record in baseball this season, but on the road they’re the worst draw in the majors.

Following their dramatic 2-0, 12-inning victory Thursday night over the defending champion Detroit Tigers, the Blue Jays sported a 35-16 record. The 36,384 fans who took in the American League contest swelled attendance at Exhibition Stadium this season to 646,-045 for 25 dates, an average of 25,841.

Project that figure over 80 home dates and the Blue Jays are on target to surpass the two-million mark for the second year in a row.

On the road it’s a different story.

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The Blue Jays, who for the first two months of the season have played primarily West Division clubs, have attracted just 424,930 patrons--an average of just 16,977 for the 25 dates.

The Montreal Expos, by comparison, were in third spot in the National League East entering play Friday with a 30-22 mark. They have averaged 22,-631 fans on the road--also for 25 dates--while averaging only 15,392 for 27 home dates, second lowest in the league.

By comparison, the two Los Angeles-based clubs top the home attendance figures. The Dodgers are averaging 40,777 from 25 home dates, while the California Angels, from 26 dates, are averaging 31,925.

On the road, the San Diego Padres are the biggest draw in the NL with a 29,059 average. The New York Yankees, objects of a longstanding love-hate relationship with the baseball fan, are the favorite draw in AL parks, averaging 26,715.

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Last season, despite the fact they compiled the majors’ second-best record, the Blue Jays were 12th best in the majors in road attendance and sixth best in their own league.

Cleveland Indians President Peter Bavasi, who held the same post with the Toronto club through their first five years, says the Blue Jays haven’t “reached the celebrity stage yet.”

“The Blue Jays haven’t been discovered yet as being as formidable a club as they are.”

Kansas City Royals President Joe Burke expressed a similar view when asked for his assessment of the figures.

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“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re a poor draw on the road,” he said. “You only draw well after you’ve become established and the fans know you have a history of playing good baseball.

“The teams that are the good draws are the ones who get a lot of exposure on television.”

American networks tend to shy away from games involving the two Canadian teams unless they’re playing a team from one of the major television markets in the United States, such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.


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