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Dodgers Spring Attendance Drop Overblown

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Attendance is down this spring for the Dodgers, but on par with all of MLB.
Attendance is down this spring for the Dodgers, but on par with all of MLB.

I missed this story on Friday, but Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times wrote about the Dodgers attendance woes this spring. Dilbeck posted these stunning figures:

Dodgers’ attendance has plummeted this spring. Last year the Dodgers averaged a record 11,589 in 17 home games. This spring, through 10 games, they are averaging 6,645.

That’s a stunning difference of 4,944 -- or a 42.3% drop.

My first thought was that it would have been better to compare numbers through the same point in spring training, or even wait until spring is done to compare apples to apples. After all, at the time Dilbeck wrote that, the Dodgers still had seven home games left, many during a week when many people have spring break, plus three weekend games. However, upon further review, the numbers are flawed.

Dilbeck is correct that the Dodgers had 17 home games last spring, but three of those weren't at Camelback Ranch. They played one game in Las Vegas and two exhibition games at Dodger Stadium. Take out those three games, and we have the following numbers:

  • 2010 at Camelback Ranch: 14 home games, 8,623 average attendance
  • 2011 at Camelback Ranch: 11 home games, 7,144 average attendance (through Monday)

That is a drop of 17.1%, which is still quite a drop, but let's go back to Dilbeck's article:

Attendance throughout Arizona is down significantly, and in spring training in general. Major League Baseball attendance this spring has fallen an average of 1,309 a game, or 17.2%.

So all of MLB is down 17.2% this year, while the Dodgers are down 17.1%. That doesn't seem out of line to me.

Today's Game

Chad Billingsley makes his fifth start of the Cactus League today, and will be followed by Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso, Travis Schlichting, Lance Cormier, and Scott Elbert.

Before the game, the Dodgers reassigned Oscar Villarreal to minor league camp. There are now 41 players left in big league camp, 20 pitchers and 21 position players.

Ryan Dempster gets the start for the Cubs today. Also scheduled to pitch for Chicago are John Grabow, Scott Maine, Sean Marshall, and Jeff Samardzija.

Lineups

Cubs   Dodgers
RF Fukudome      
SS Furcal
LF Colvin
CF Paul
CF Byrd
RF Ethier             
1B Pena
3B Uribe
C Soto
1B
Gibbons
3B Baker
LF Gimenez
2B DeWitt
C Barajas
SS Barney
2B Velez
P Dempster
P Billingsley

Today sees several spring firsts for the Dodgers.: Xavier Paul in centerfield, Jay Gibbons at first base, and Hector Gimenez in left field.

**********

Game Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network

MLB Gameday