We’re one-third through the season and the Marlins are on pace for their best record since the World Series team in 2003, yet their solid play after an offseason full of big spending and moving into a new ballpark haven’t boosted the team’s attendance nearly as much as hoped.
Through 29 home games the Marlins have averaged 28,019 fans at their new $515 million ballpark. That represents a solid 47 percent increase compared to last season, but the Marlins still rank just 16th among MLB teams in average attendance, behind sub-.500 teams like the Rockies, Twins, Tigers, and Cubs and even trailing the rival Braves whose fans are often maligned for not showing up in droves.
Good team, exciting players, new manager, huge payroll increase, $515 million supposedly state-of-the-art new ballpark … and 16th in attendance. Maybe the Home Run Sculpture is just scaring people away?
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.