Late season ‘crowds’ at Mallpark show how #Braves erred in leaving ATL

The biggest game in five years — the cherry on top of one of the most interesting teams the Braves have fielded since moving from Milwaukee — didn’t sell out. Attendance was announced Saturday at 35, 616, well below capacity. For the year, The Mallpark attracted just over 2.5 million paying customers, about 600 more per game than in 2017 and a tick below 2013 at Turner Field, the last time the team made the playoffs.

We were told attendance would rise in a park closer to the bulk of the team’s season ticket buyers.  That never made sense — you already had ’em.

What they’ve lost is not insignificant.  Many intown Atlantans who once cheered for the team no longer care, resolute in their scorn. Ownership abandoned them when they built SunTrust Field in the middle of a Cobb office park, and while then-Mayor Kasim Reeds deserves some of the blame, the fact remains the Braves are dead to many who call Atlanta home.

There are other factors. It’s gotten more expensive to attend a game, and baseball continues to careen towards irrelevance with millennials. But it’s still troubling that, after five years of wandering in the competitive wilderness, a signature moment in the team’s history was met with so much indifference. We’ll see if that changes in the playoffs.

(The photo accompanying this post was taken one hour after first pitch Saturday.)

3 thoughts on “Late season ‘crowds’ at Mallpark show how #Braves erred in leaving ATL

  1. They need to shuttle people by bus from Macon, Rome, Augusta.
    I live in Middle Ga. and I am sure people would jump at a chance to avoid Atlanta traffic at a reasonable cost! This would reach out to folks in Alabama, Tennessee, and Carolinas.

  2. I get it. The lack of Bravos attachment. The fear and trembling at the rise of Mall Park and the abortive baseball culture it enables.

    As long time fan and first time caller, I get this blog’s stoic Seinfieldian-absolution of our home team: they’re wearing laundry, a logo, as pieces and parts of a nameless, faceless, souless conglomerate who have played reckless with our heartstrings and know neither the beat, nor the words of the beating Braves heart.

    I won’t talk you off that point, malcontent. And I share it. Much of it. It is principled.

    But hasn’t baseball always been such? Hasn’t baseball, especially in Atlanta always been such? A certain Ted-Turner-Super-Station flavored hucksterism? Even the best days at The Ted felt like a promo for the Cartoon Network or a Church Group or a Country Music concert series. But at some point isn’t there some Braves essence that remains? Does watching Acuna and Ozzie celebrate with unbridled joy wake up some echoes of Justice, Gant, youth, and promise? At some point, doesn’t the product on the field transcend the sycophants and suits who run the organization?

    As for me and my house, we have made an uneasy peace with Mall Park. An uneasy peace with Braves past and Braves present. That peace is earned (or conjured?) with two words in that classic, time-honed, and sentimental script, “Play Ball!”

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