Rob Liefheit - USA TODAY Sports

Take Me Out to GABP, Take Me Out to the Crowd

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

I know it’s Sunday and for those of you that are in school, learning might not be your objective of the day. Bear with me here. Read the following:

ta·boo [tuh-boo, ta-], adj.
1. proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable: Taboo language is usually bleeped on TV. Synonyms: prohibited, banned, forbidden, proscribed. Antonyms: allowed, permitted, permissible; sanctioned.
2. prohibited or excluded from use or practice: In art school, painting from photographs was taboo.
3. (among the Polynesians and other peoples of the South Pacific) separated or set apart as sacred; forbidden for general use; placed under a prohibition or ban. Synonyms: sacrosanct, inviolable.


It’s the second definition in which I will be referring to here.

If there is one subject that will throw some Reds fans into a frenzy, discuss attendance. Therefore, discussions on that are taboo. Anytime I see this particular subject broached on Twitter, a disagreement will inevitably ensue. Why?

Could it be that some fear their personal fandom is being questioned?
Could it be that some fans do not wished to be lumped into another group of fans?
Could it be that some view this as an attack on the entire fanbase?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of those, breathe. Seriously, breathe. Now, I’ll ask one more question.

Why does anyone get so defensive and/or offended on this subject? Honestly, I don’t get it, but I’ll guess.

A possible answer might be that we don’t take well to others (particularly writers whether they are now our “own” or from other beats as well as other fanbases) attempting to assassinate our character, our loyalty to the Reds. (It’s even less enjoyable when one of your own within the fanbase voices such. Right, John?) Twitter can be so cruel. Floating out attendance numbers is only one way to get under our collective skin. It works.

Observe these numbers from the last homestand.

St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games: 98,482
Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 games: 108,598

Those are the total attendance numbers from those respective series.

The Reds were fighting to claw their way back into the NL Central race while keeping their grip on the NL’s second wild card spot. The rival and hated Cards in town. Not even 100k for a four-game series? Only the Monday game, which was the first game of the series that also happened to be a day game on Labor Day, drew over 30,000 fans. Well over one-third of the series attendance came from one game…for a four-game series.

During the Dodgers series, all three games surpassed 30k. In fact, the least attended game was Friday night when the gate was 33,778. Okay, maybe this series got a bit of an extra push due to Joe Morgan Weekend, the Great 8 reunion and Sunday’s game being ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball extravaganza. The entire series was a celebration.

But less than 100,000 for the four games against your bitter rival?

And what do you make of this? Saw the following headline a few days ago from the Cincinnati Business Courier

Reds turn to Groupon to fill seats

What? Groupon? Oh, it’s making a huge comeback.

Does this headline adequately represent an organization that will set the GABP single-season attendance record? Almost makes you think of the line “desperate times call for desperate measures”. Then you notice something.

2013 is a season where Reds fans have shown they can head out to GABP and enjoy a Reds game. In fact, this season will surpass the GABP record for season attendance. As we sit on this Sunday, the current figure is at 2,294,724. That averages to 31,010 fans a game. With six home dates left on the blotter, if GABP sees that 31k+ per game for the rest of the season (6 games), you’re looking at about 2,480,784 for the entire season. That would rank as the fifth highest in the organization’s history.

That’s more than the ’75 Reds (2,315,603), speaking of the Great 8. Yes, more fans will attend a game at GABP this year than the year the Big Red Machine went on to post the first of back-to-back World Series titles. That ’75 squad owned 108 wins. Sure, only 2.3 million saw that team at Riverfront, and I was one

A crowd of 20,880 at the first game of the Mets series would surpass that 1975 number. The next 52,528 fans that pass through the gates will eclipse last year’s attendance of 2,347,251. For the record, 2012 currently ranks as the 10th most attended year in Reds history.

Just like anything pertaining to the game of baseball, there is an ebb and a flow. Attendance is no different. In referring to the piece from the Business Courier, Steve Watkins notes that “Reds attendance sags in September virtually every year”. Certain days of the week, certain times of the year and certain opponents are determining factors. Now, toss in dynamic ticket pricing as a factor. Can’t ever forget the on-field product either. Stadium atmosphere can play a role. The list can definitely grow longer.

And how big of an enticement is the potential of getting free pizza?

2013 will go down as one of the most attended seasons in Reds history, so why all the disharmony when attendance is mentioned?

You got me. If you are one that does take offense to this subject, please enlighten me.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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