Apparently, here’s the latest sign that the Nationals will soon be forced to pack up shop and leave D.C.: Their radio ratings are awful. (This is totally shocking because, a) AM/FM radio is doing so well right now, b) how could anyone not wanna listen to a 100-loss team play?) This comes on the heels of the news earlier this summer that their TV ratings are horrible, which was a huge shocker seeing as they’re almost entirely relegated to MASN2, a channel that may actually exist, despite the fact that I’ve never seen it.
So, ‘Duk at Big League Stew has combined these two facts with the team’s inability to sign Aaron Crow and come to one conclusion: The “end game” for the Nationals is in sight.
Now, I realize it’s easy for a Cubs fan to throw stones at a struggling franchise, but let’s calm down for a second. Sure, no one is listening to the Nats on their AM/FM radios, and no one is watching on TV because they have no choice, but people are still going to the park to see them play, despite the team being the worst product in Major League Baseball.
The Nats are averaging nearly 30,000 a game this season, which is middle of the pack — ahead of 12 other franchises (including the O’s). Yeah, sure, some of that is due to the shiny new ballpark, but even last year while playing with a similarly shitty team in perhaps the shittiest ballpark in baseball, they averaged over 24,000 a game. That number was better than five other teams.
So, D.C., which inherited a perennial loser, has put an average of 28,000 fans per game in the seats during the Nats’ four-year history. Considering the product, I’d say that’s fairly impressive, actually. But more importantly, here’s the real question: If fans such as ‘Duk are so giddy to already declare baseball in Washington a failure, then where should the team be instead? I’m just dying to know what other city — devoid of a current MLB team — could draw better if given a 90-to-100-loss team.
UPDATE: Yay! More kicking the Nats while they’re down, from Pat Lackey at FanHouse: “Can anyone remember how moving to Washington was supposed to save this franchise from obscurity?” I don’t recall saving them from obscurity as ever being the goal. Saving them, period, I think was the mission.
So, let’s see: They went from averaging 9,000 fans a game in their last four seasons in Montreal to 28,000 in their first four in Washington. Three times the attendance, plus playing in the nation’s capital, as opposed to a French-Canadian province. Eh, you’re right though, the franchise is still just as bad off now as it was in ’04.