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The True Story Behind Milwaukee Baseball Attendance

Updated on April 19, 2016
Fans go through the turnstiles at Miller Park in Milwaukee... but how OFTEN do they?
Fans go through the turnstiles at Miller Park in Milwaukee... but how OFTEN do they? | Source

Recently the Brewers came to St. Louis for the Cardinals' Opening Day. One thing to note is that the Cardinals have hosted the Brewers as their “home opener” opponent on FIVE occasions in recent years from the 2003 opener forward. In the eyes of baseball scribes, St. Louis seems to have been known as a commendable baseball town. With the recent 2016 Opening Day visit by the Brewers, it made me start thinking about how things are done in Milwaukee versus other cities.

In Milwaukee, the stadium is sold out every Opening Day, no matter what the weather is. Fans take off of work and come out in droves to the ballpark. Tailgating is seen in full force, and people get there early for a day to remember. You have to be proud of the long established tradition that is implemented in our city as an almost unofficial holiday. One thing that is lacking though is the “true colors” of these so called fans. While the attendance may be over 40,000 on Opening Day, Milwaukee continually shows a pretty sizable DROP-OFF in fans in the second game of the season. To give you an idea of recent trends, the Brewers have drawn over 42,000 fans every year from the 2003 opener forward. In that same span, they have failed to draw 25,000 fans for the second game of the year nine times!

An Embarrassing Fan Moment

Who really goes to these games? Are they real diehard fans, or are they a bunch of drunkards who couldn’t even tell you who Greg Vaughn or Richie Sexson are? Unfortunately, the answer seems apparent. After the 2015 Brewers Opening Day, one of my friends posted on Facebook that she had the “best day ever!” I made it a point to remind her that the Brewers lost 10-0 in a dreadful start by Kyle Lohse. I guess what I am trying to say is the ceremony and “pomp and circumstance” seems to have overshadowed the actual game itself.

I hate to say it folks, but it seems as if the Cardinals are doing something right. St. Louis may not be quite the tailgating town that Milwaukee is, yet they still draw well for the second game of the year after all the novelty of Opening Day has worn off. Starting with 2003 until the present, how many times do you think the Cardinals failed to draw 25,000 fans for the second home game of the year? ONCE!

Don’t try to say “well it’s a school night.” If I am not mistaken, they have schools in St. Louis too. The lack of kids would NOT be an excuse for a second game attendance drop-off. Kids don’t go to Opening Day anyway. Also, don’t try to tell me about the often subpar April Midwest weather. The last time I checked, Miller Park has a roof, which guarantees a baseball game, and Busch Stadium does not.

So what do the Cardinals do differently? One difference could be that the Cardinals usually bring back some of their “legends” such as former players, broadcasters, and managers for their Opening Day festivities. In addition to ceremonies and recognition on the field, other factors that could explain the staggering attendance difference from one game to another when you compare St. Louis and Milwaukee might even be the product on the field itself, special promotions and giveaways, and even the general metro area population. After all, St. Louis is the 19th biggest metro area in the United States while Milwaukee is 39th according to the United States Census Bureau.

What I want to know is, of those Cardinals fans who turn out for Opening Day and then continue to turn out for the second game, how many know who Luis Alicea or Eli Marrero are? After all, their last appearances with the Cardinals were 1996 and 2003 respectively, just like Vaughn and Sexson for the Brewers. How many “informed” fans arrive to the park? Who are the “real” baseball fans? Unfortunately, I would venture to guess that the Cardinals fans who go to the second game of the season are REAL and GENUINE fans. Milwaukee needs to and SHOULD do better.

As a resident of Milwaukee myself, I have to say "You are killing me!” I don’t think the fact that the metro area is smaller has anything to do with the sickening drop-off in attendance in the second game of the season. You as a city and fan base can do better. Not only that, but you SHOULD do better. I expect more out of you!

And while the goal is to try to get fans to come out to the second game of the season, maybe it might be good to get ACTUAL fans to come out, instead of the drunkards that do. I don’t hear news reports of Cardinals fans puking all over the place or falling from the stands or falling off the elevator. Milwaukee you should be ashamed.


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