The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Sunday, April 11, 2004


Marlins attendance has been strong through the first five games of the season - well eclipsing last year's totals so far. This was to be expected I suppose since last year's attendance, like the year's immediately preceding it, was abysmal. Plus, as you may know, the Marlins are the defending World Series Champions this year.

However, last night's announced paid attendance of 45,725 was, at best, a gross fabrication. This year the Marlins have announced that "capacity" at carvernous Pro Player stadium is 36,331. I say "capacity" because Pro Player is also used as a football stadium for the Miami Dolphins, Orange Bowl, and FAU football. For those events capacity can exceed 70,000. Not all of those seats are available for baseball as some need to be pushed back in order to have a reasonably sized field, but baseball capacity can be more than 65,000 fans (after allowing for a batter's eye in centerfield and folding up some seats in left).

Generally, the 36,331 "capacity" number includes all of the lower level seats - except for the centerfield batter's eye and the folded up left field seats, all of the club seats, except for some in right field and center field, and the upper deck between the foul poles (between the bases and down the lines in what would otherwise be non-home run territory).

For last night's game the stadium was very full. Definitely the most full I have seen it for a regular season, non-opening day game since last year's matchup against the Diamondbacks featuring Randy Johnson and Dontrelle Willis. However, there were no fans sitting in the upper deck on the home run side of the foul poles. A number of us tried to guess the attendance before it was announced and no one - inlcuding many people who have been to at least dozens if not hundreds of events at the stadium - guessed that attendance was more than 37,000. Effectively we all thought that 37,000 was a full house given how they were making seats available. For the Marlins to announce a crowd of nearly 46,000 seems ludicrous. Granted getting into the stadium last night was a mad house - although that was due more to the replica ring giveaway fiasco than anything else - and getting out of the stadium was also chaotic - for reasons unexplained, but to claim that there were 10,000 more fans in attendance (paid attendance, whatever) than capacity is extremely hard to believe. Part of me wonders if the Marlins played up the attendance to calm the sentiment of the fans who were disappointed about not being able to take home one of the replica World Series rings (which although nice promtional items are nothing like what the players received - the only similarity is that they are all rings, but the giveaway rings are not even the same color scheme as the actual rings).


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