Players are quick to say they do what they do for the fans (along with, in many instances, an enormous paycheck). So which teams have the best fans? Times staff writer Kevin Baxter offers his opinion about the cities with the 10 best and worst fan bases in baseball.
Team (average home attendance); comment
1. Boston (37,666) Red Sox Nation not only fills Fenway, where there have been 690 consecutive sellouts, but the team’s fans travel, too.
2. St. Louis (38,023) Downtown is a sea of Cardinals red on game days. The fans understand and respect the game, politely cheering good plays by the opposition.
3. New York Yankees (44,739) Old Yankee Stadium drew more than 4 million fans in each of its last four years. The crowds are large, loud and passionate.
4. Philadelphia (45,496) Attendance was dismal in the final years at Veterans Stadium. But a winning team and a gorgeous ballpark have rekindled a love affair in South Philly.
5. San Francisco (41,899) Last year’s World Series victory parade underscored the Giants’ relationship with the city, where the players are like family.
6. Chicago Cubs (37,220) No titles in more than a century, so these aren’t fair-weather fans — especially the ones who sit through near-freezing early season windchills.
7. Detroit (30,620) The recession hit Detroit hard, yet the Tigers’ blue-collar style so mirrors the city that crowds have averaged 30,000-plus for six seasons.
8. Dodgers (36,949) The fans are loyal and passionate. That they’ve stayed home this season only underscores their feelings for the franchise.
9. Angels (39,063) The team will outdraw the Dodgers for the first time this season, yet Anaheim crowds still get marked down for a lack of ardor. It’s a bum rap for a loyal fan base.
10. Milwaukee (36,330) Long-suffering fans are backing the winners they have long deserved. Or are they simply saying goodbye to Prince Fielder?
1. Tampa Bay (19,326) Management gave away tickets to draw respectable crowds during a pennant race last fall. The Rays are good and exciting, but few in Tampa Bay care.
2. Florida: (17,992) The state is officially a baseball wasteland. The last time the Marlins weren’t last in the NL in attendance, 2004, was the season after they won the World Series.
3. Cleveland (21,881) We know all about the long sellout streak at Progressive Field. But that was last century. This year, the Indians got off to a great start and the fans still stayed home.
4. Oakland (18,925) This one’s on management, which has put a losing team in a dreary mausoleum of a ballpark. The lack of enthusiasm and energy here is depressing.
5. Toronto (23,007) The Blue Jays drew more than 4 million to their stadium when they were winning in the 1990s. Now they’re competitive again — and rank 24th in attendance.
6. Arizona (23,868) A great ballpark with air conditioning in the middle of the desert. A first-place team. And the stadium is still half empty?
7. Atlanta (28,866) The Braves have failed to sell out playoff games. Maybe Bobby Cox made winning expected, but this year’s team is fighting for a playoff berth before empty seats.
8. Washington (23,682) Why did the Senators leave? Oh, yeah: There weren’t many baseball fans in Washington. Even a beautiful new stadium hasn’t helped attendance.
9. Cincinnati (27,651) We can understand fans staying home in Kansas City, Seattle and Oakland. But the Reds won a division title last year.
10. Seattle (23,478) A 17-game losing streak can dampen enthusiasm. But fans were staying away even when the team was in contention.