Nats Park Much Like Mexican Soccer Stadiums - NBC4 Washington

Nats Park Much Like Mexican Soccer Stadiums

Paid attendance shrinking

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    Tonight's paid attendance: 18.

    If Adam Dunn hits a home run at Nationals Park and no fans are there to see it, does it still count?

    Attendance is bad at the Nats' home field. How bad is it? Paid attendance has dropped by 30 percent this season, according to the Washington Times. It's so bad D.C.'s sending its truancy officers out in search of season-ticket holders. Dog the Bounty Hunter might even have to be called in.

    It's just that bad.

    After an Opening Day crowd of more than 40,000, attendance has been on a downward spiral. The next game: 20,000. Then a drop into the 19,000 range. Then 16,000. Then 12,000 on a rainy night. Then a pair of 15,000s to round out the first homestand at one of baseball's newer stadiums.

    Not good.

    So is it the weather? That has played a factor on a few nights. The bad baseball on the field? Definitely. Swine flu? Not yet. But, come to think of it, the stands for a Nats game sure look an awful lot like those Mexican soccer games being played recently.

    Only two other teams -- the small-market Royals and Pirates -- have had fewer fans in the seats so far this season, according to the Times.

    The "other" local team, the Baltimore Orioles, aren't having the same problems the Nats are. Ticket sales this season are up 7 percent, according to the Times.

    But hey, at least the Nats can look forward to interleague play.  That's when the Boston Red Sox come to town. Those games have to be sold out already, right? I mean, the Nats even made it seem like there was great demand for tickets by creating a lottery for fans just so they could "win" the right to buy them.

    Well, not so much. The drawing was held. Winners were announced. And then on Monday an e-mail went out to those who entered the drawing, letting them know that "the Nationals would like to extend another opportunity to secure additional tickets for the 3 games."

    Go onto StubHub.com, and check out the Nats tickets for sale there, too. Want to sit in the Diamond Club seats for Thursday night's game against the Cardinals? Tickets usually run about $150 for season-ticket holders. But they can be yours for just $66 each. And that includes a $35 food voucher.

    Feel bad for the Nationals? Scared that they might not last in D.C.? Don't bother shedding tears. The Nats are doing just fine, thank you very much. As we noted last week, the Lerners made more money last season than all but one team. That's right, they pocketed $42 million, according to Forbes.com.

    So what lessons do we learn from all of this? It doesn't matter if you show up at the games to root, root, root for the home team, as long as the team's pockets fill up.