If the Rangers hit the ground with a thud but there was nobody there to hear it, did they make any noise?
Unfortunately yes. It made the sickening sound of a really bad baseball team.
On Monday night, the Rangers announced attendance was 16,718. According to the Dallas Morning News, that was the lowest turnout since 2010 when 16,240 paid for a July game.
That 16,718 number is not how many people were in the stands, either. Announced attendance is how many tickets were sold, not how many butts were in seats. Apathy sets in and people would rather binge watch Friends.
The announced attendance last night wasn’t much better: 18,697. About 200 were left by the last inning. There is only so much ritual slaughter a person can stand to watch.
They can’t blame Monday on the unseasonably cold weather because most tickets are sold well in advance of weather patterns. Saturday was brutally cold and the announced attendance was 26,229. There were fare fewer than 10,000 there. I know that because there were still hundreds and boxes of Elvis bobble heads available at game time. They were going to give them to the first 15,000 fans in attendance. They had plenty left.
You can blame the chilly reception these fans have given the team on disinterest. And you can blame the disinterest on the team that the front office has put on the field.
Sports Illustrated predicted it to finish in last place. Most people who aren’t professionals and don’t get paid to write about baseball concurred long before.
Fans want hope. Jon Daniels gave them Matt Moore. Fans want to feel their team has direction. Jon Daniels pointed them to Doug Fister and Bartolo Colon and Tim Lincecum, pitchers who are so far past their prime, they might just lap it.
One can debate long and hard about whether some of the big name free agents would make any difference in where Texas finishes this year. But while many decisions don’t show up directly in the won-lost record, they show up in how many people show up.
The Rangers didn’t create any sort of buzz coming into the season. They took a team that was a few clicks from last place, and made it worse.
It has nothing to do with this being or not being a Baseball Town. Make no mistake, this is. Think back to when this team was great. More aptly, it’s a Make-It-Worth-My-Time Baseball Town. The Rangers don’t have the luxury the Cowboys have of sucking for 25 years and fans still automatically showing up. They haven’t earned that.
Because their history hasn’t been too rosy. But in the entire sordid history of the Texas Rangers, they have had just three seasons with a worse start after thirteen games than where they are now. In 1987 they started 2-11. In 1978 and 2002 they started 3-10. They’ve had two other 4-9 starts, in 1973 and 1994.
Maybe one could blame the 4-9 on the manager.
The 16,718 is most definitely on the general manager.
The Rangers didn’t make it worth their fans’ time in the off-season. They aren’t making it worth their time in the first two weeks of the season.
Their fans are simply reminding them of that.
Jaime Barria (0-0, -.–) vs. Matt Moore (0-2, 11.05)
Game time: 7:05
How the Angels hit against Moore.
This is Barria’s first ever major league game.