There has been a growing chorus of grumpy criticism of Cleveland and its fans as the Indians winning streak has continued. It began, as far as I can tell, with Darren Rovell attendance-shaming the Indians earlier in the week, wondering why they only drew 24,000 or so fans to Tuesday’s win over the Tigers. Since then I’ve seen a lot of commenters and commentators saying much the same thing.
A couple of points to be made about that:
- A lot of people buy tickets ahead of time and no one schedules a winning streak. That said, there have been thousands and, in some cases, as many as 10,000 walkup ticket sales for Indians games lately;
- Cleveland, as a city, has lost about 20% of its population since 2000. It’s not in anywhere near as healthy an economic situation as basically any other major league city and, as such, fans attending games there are making bigger tradeoffs than fans in most other big league cities. To expect there to be 40,000+ fans able to plunk down serious cash for big league tickets 81 times a year in a city like Cleveland is asking a lot; finally
- When it matters, the Indians do, in fact, draw. And the fans are excited. We saw this with the playoffs last year. We’re seeing it now with the winning streak. Just witness the scene that unfolded in the 10th inning last night when Jay Bruce walked them off for win number 22:
The game was not a sellout, but those left field bleachers looked pretty full to me.
Don’t shame Indians fans for their alleged lack of support. They’re doing just fine, thank you very much.