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No big turnout for Stephen Strasburg’s first home start

Apr 16, 2012, 7:15 PM EDT

Nationals Ballpark (from Mark Zuckerman)

Stephen Strasburg is making his first D.C. start for the 7-3 Washington Nationals on Monday, but one would hardly know that by the crowd. CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman took the accompanying pic two minutes before Strasburg’s first pitch and guessed their might be 10,000 people in the stands.

Zuckerman penned an article earlier in the noting how the Strasburg hype had died around Washington:

Since he first debuted in the big leagues amid hoopla and packed houses, Strasburg has seen the hysteria surrounding his starts considerably wane. “Strasmas,” that national holiday that was observed every five days back when he was a flamethrowing rookie (or even a recovering Tommy John patient), is no more. Strasburg, to quote his own words, is “just another donkey” on the Nationals pitching staff.

Part of the issue tonight undoubtedly is that the Capitals are hosting a playoff game just a few miles down the road. Still, it looks to be a disappointing turnout for a team off to an excellent start.

  1. spudchukar - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Sad.

    • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      There must be lot of people from south Florida living in or around Washington these days.

  2. dagnats - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    I love the nats more than 99% of DC residents, but there is no way I miss the caps game tonight…I’ll be watching both games…could not commit to just one…

    • dagnats - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      The announcers said there was over 16,500ish

  3. afirst916 - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    They’re probably all at the Wizards game

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Strasburg on the mound, awesome stadium, and the Nats are off to a division-leading start. You’d think that would mean enough people from D.C. and the surrounding are would show up, NHL playoffs or not.

    • paperlions - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Second week of baseball season <<<<<<< NHL playoffs.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

        I guess everyone in the states becomes a hockey fan when their team’s in the playoffs.

      • paperlions - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:05 PM

        14 US teams have attendance equal to 97.5% of capacity or more.

        Lot of hockey fans. No, we don’t obsess about it 24/7/365 like our northern neighbors, but we approach that level during the intense setting of the NHL playoffs….hands down the best post-season environment.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:11 PM

        Can’t argue with that. So far this first round has been one of the best in recent memory.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Enough have mentioned the Caps hosting the Bruins, so I’ll just add a note about a fellow named Koufax. In a bigger city, in a nearly new stadium, the legendary lefty who had pitched no-hitters in 3 straight seasons, in a Sept. game in a tight pennant race, drew fewer than 30,000 for a weeknight game with no other major local sports competition. They were glad they showed up. He of course pitched a perfecto that night.

      • eastcoastcynic - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        Was the Koufax game on on local TV? That may have accounted for the low turnout.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        to eastcoastcynic: No, I believe there was no local TV of that game, nor did the visiting Cubs televise it for fans back home, which is why there is zero video of the record-setting game. Besides it being a then-record 4th no-no for Koufax, the Dodgers’ one hit made it the only complete 9-inning game with only one hit. If I recall, the only Dodgers games on LA TV in those days were when they played in SF, plus the World Series. Audio survives of Vin Scully’s classic radio call of the 9th inning because it was his practice to get the radio station to hit the record switch on a reel-to-reel tape recorder if a pitcher took a no-hitter into the 9th.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      Lovely weather yesterday, too.

  5. rjostewart - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Worth noting that the Capitals are playing a playoff game against the Bruins in DC right now, looks like a packed house there.

    • rjostewart - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      Oh, except that you did note that. Whoops.

  6. stex52 - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Couoold be that they are playing the Astros, too. Sorry to say that, but it is probably part of the equation.

    Thanks for not rubbing our faces in it, Matt.

  7. sasquash20 - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Could be that they just are a bunch of frauds. I guess that is why Philly takes that fragaisie city over every time we come to town. Loser Fans.

    PS-We are coming again this season to take over your beautiful ball park.

    • dangle13x - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      way to represent your white trash philly fan base in an honest manner.

      • xmatt0926x - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:22 PM

        dangle13x, way to throw a blanket over an entire fan base because of one comment and therefore take yourself just as low as the comment you’re complaining about.

    • ezwriter69 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Fragaisie? Leave it to Philly to invent a NEW hate word, having worn the old ones out… I even googled it, and of course all that comes up is you using the word in about eight other illiterate hate rants here…

      • sean1525 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        Pretty sure he meant “Fugazi”, which a local sports talk host (one of the few I actually like) uses alot. It means “italian wise guy slang for…. a fake, a phony”.

        Don’t worry, not EVERY Philly fan is a terrible speller….

      • cleverbob - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:55 AM

        Maybe he was referring to the band?

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:36 AM

      I take great offense to this. Nats Stadium is not lovely.

      Also, you’re an idiot. Thanks for making Philly fans look like, well, you.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Thank you Sashcrotch for yet another incredibly worthless post.
      Man…the Phillies sure could use a lot less of YOU and YOURS to help shed that battery throwing, santa claus booing, puking on kids, laser light pointing, unsportsmanlike “umbrella.”

  8. xmatt0926x - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    It will be interesting to see how the Nats do this year both win wise and attendance wise should they be a competitive team. I’m exremely interested to see how the Marlins do with attendance. My guess is that they are down to 15,000 a night by July, if not sooner.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:38 AM

      I think there’s usually a one-year lag before the casual fan notices a team is any good. And, given how teams return to the mean, that means a lot of disappointed people showing up in Year Two.

    • Gamera the Brave - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      By August it may be just Old Gator, sitting up in the nosebleeds, alone, golf-clapping…

  9. randygnyc - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Easily the best pitcher in baseball with less than 20 starts in all of baseball. And you have to figure with his innings limitation this year (assuming no playoffs or injuries), he won’t get more than 28 starts this year. Of those, he’ll only get 14 or 15 home starts, ALL YEAR. It’s a bit surprising that with such limited opportunities to see their phenom, only 10,000 fans bothered.

  10. simon94022 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Complaining about any team’s April weeknight attendance is like always building a franchise around a “5 tool” player who never gets on base: just stupid.

    After opening day, April is the low point for every Club’s attendance. Weeknights are always lower than weekends. Mondays are the worst attended games in any given week, all year long.

    And yes, there was an amazing Strassburg buzz a couple years ago, but why would you expect that to last? Attendance numbers are driven by how well a team did LAST season, and the identity of the opponent. Nobody sells thousands of walk up tickets based on who the starting pitcher is or how a team played in the season’s first week and a half.

    So: Monday night game in April against the Astros, hosted by a team that’s never posted a record over .500. If you really find a relatively low turnout “disappointing” you don’t know much about the business of baseball.

  11. hojo20 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    What an embarrassment. Montreal could’ve drawn that crowd too.

  12. tomtravis76 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Baseball should start Memorial Day weekend and end in October. There are too many games.

    Its 9:45pm, right now, top of 8th. Game won’t end until after 10pm, get on the Metro and would get home by 11ish, fall asleep by midnight. Get up at 6am. Plus add in the beer and food. You just can’t do that 3-4 times a week and be productive and have money in the bank account.

    Watch it on the big screen on my porch, grill out, check out other sporting events, in bed by 11ish. Save the money for the Friday and Saturday night games at the Park.

  13. joeflaccosunibrow - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    But wait, baseball HAS to return to DC…

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:41 AM

      The Nats got about 25,000 a game last year. It wasn’t terrific, but it was about 20th in baseball. If the Nats have an attendance crisis, then a third of the league does.

  14. dawglb - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    As a DC area resident (from Philly), I have purchased Phils v Nats tickets for a few years. Those games were some of the only near sell outs all season for Washington. This year they have a “Take the Ballpark Back” marketing plan in place. They will not sell tickets to people with a PA mailing address. What a HUGE mistake. F DC. Enjoy having 14,000 a night. The result of your decision, scalpers will be selling to Philadelphians outside your gates. Whomever made that decision for the Nats should be fired. Moron!

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

      Wait, are the scalpers going to steal the tickets?

  15. schmedley69 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    There are always excuses for the low attendance at Nats game, and promises of “when the team gets good we’ll be there,” but if you look at their attendance and TV ratings from year to year, there hasn’t been much of a spike as the team has gradually gotten better. Makes it hard to believe that the fans will ever consistently fill that place. Baseball has failed twice in D.C., and the 3rd time does not appear to be the charm.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:46 AM

      There’s about 10 teams who had worse attendance than the Nats did last year.

      Yes, attendance are ratings have been disappointing, but this is hardly a disaster. The idea that because the Nats left in 1960 and 1970 that baseball cannot work here is preposterous. This region is so utterly different than the one the Twins fled. Heck, I moved here in 1997 and I can’t believe how different it is.

      I wouldn’t call “it’s April, and the Caps were playing” to be excuses. They’re facts. I checked in on the Yankees-Twins game last night, and there were a lot of empty seats there. It’s no wonder the Dodgers and Giants left New York, and the Mets are in last place! Baseball can never work there!

      • schmedley69 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM

        Take away the 9 home games against the Phillies (where it’s 90% Phillies fans in the stands), and the Nats attendance would be much lower. Their TV ratings were just about the worst in baseball last year. They only averaged about 30,000 viewers per game, while teams like the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox were over 300,000 per game. Sorry, just stating facts. There haven’t been many signs that baseball is really catching on in D.C.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:59 AM

        Yes, if not for all the tickets they sold, they would have sold fewer. Tickets sold to visiting fans count, too. And those Philly fans, Orioles fans (during Interleague), and Mets fans, once that team rebounds, will help with the profitability of the local franchise.

        Baseball has belonged in DC for a long time, and it will thrive here. The Red Sox and Cubs sell a lot of tickets to tourists; if the Nationals were smarter, they’d aim for that market, too (especially in the early months of the season when there’s plenty of tourists in DC). It all counts.

      • nolanwiffle - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:39 AM

        Thank you to all you benevolent Phillies fans for propping up the Nats!

        It’s probably worth noting that this is still essentially an expansion team. Washington last had baseball in 1971. There’s an entire generation of Washingtonians that either weren’t fans of the game or became Orioles fans. Given time and a good on-field product, and baseball will thrive in DC.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:52 AM

      This is idiotic. The Senators left in 1960 and 1970. Do you have any idea how different a country this is since then? How different the DC region is since then?

      I might as well point out that the Dodgers and Giants left New York in 1958 to prove baseball can’t work in New York.

    • nolanwiffle - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      Baseball has failed twice in DC? You’re not from here, are you? Google Calvin Grifith and Bob Short….then tell me who failed who.

  16. jayquintana - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Here’s a thought, maybe the ticket prices are too high!

    • royhobbs39 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      The Nationals have some of the higher ticket prices in baseball. Though it is a nice park and a good team, it seems like they need to be more established to charge what they do.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        Overall, I think it’s an unpleasant experience to go to the ballpark. I work downtown, live in a Maryland suburb JUST north of the Beltway, and I prefer to go to Orioles games on weekends than Nationals games at any other time. The metro access is pretty lousy (the station at which they built the stadium isn’t really equipped to handle crowd), and I think the tickets are overpriced. The whole damn place — publicly funded, mind you — is built with the luxury boxes in mind. It might as well be called One Percent Park.

        Simply stated, I preferred RFK, by quite a bit. But the idea that baseball in DC is doomed to fail is preposterous.

  17. simon94022 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Not a Nats fan, but some of these comments are ridiculous. Baseball never failed in DC (did it also “fail” in Philly in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, when both Philadelphia teams regularly finished last in their leagues year after year after year in attendance?).

    The Nats are doing very well financially, and the restoration of baseball to the DC area is one of MLB’s great success stories of this decade.

  18. rcali - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    This team was put here so that the U.S. senators could take their girlfriends and now they aren’t even showing up. Maybe their spending more time with their families?

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