You may have noticed a few empty seats in the Padres’ loss Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Attendance was listed at 29,764, which is 53 percent of capacity (and probably a generous estimate of how many people actually showed up to the game). For all my complaining about the small crowds at Petco Park, the Padres are not alone in struggling to fill seats.
My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) notes that the Dodgers currently rank sixth in the National League in attendance, which represents their second worst showing since 1918, when there were only eight teams in the league.
Since moving to Los Angeles 54 years ago, the Dodgers have finished first or second in attendance 41 times (76%). Poor play is a factor, but the actions of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are far more damaging to a brand name that, love it or hate it, has provided a rare beacon of respectability on the west coast for decades.
As a Padres fan, I want to see my guys beat the Dodgers every time the two teams step onto the playing field. As a baseball fan with strong ties to Los Angeles, it kills me to see the McCourts run the franchise into the ground. Watching a rival get beat like a drum between the lines is fun. Watching that same rival destroy its name for no good reason, not so much.
The Padres need the Dodgers to get their act together soon. Otherwise, who will be left to hate?