The Yankees played before their smallest crowd in 13 years last night

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Last night the Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. Paid attendance: 25,566.

That’d be fine for some teams — nine teams are averaging less than that per game so far this year — but it was a dubious record for the Yankees. Indeed, it was their smallest home crowd since they moved into the new Yankee Stadium back in 2009 and their smallest crowd overall since 2004.

For the season, the Yankees are averaging 35,588, which is the sixth best in baseball. Last year they were sixth best in baseball for the whole season, averaging 37,819. It’s early in the year and attendance ticks up when the weather gets nicer and school is out, so it’s likely they’re going to do about as well as they did last season. Or better if they continue their recent hot run and contend deeply into the season.

But it does show that a couple of years as only a marginal contender and a lot of new faces causes some people to stay away. In this the Yankees are like every other team, none of which has any guarantee of full or near-full houses. There is only one guarantee: win, and people come.