This spring new Cactus League single game attendance records are being broken so often it’s hard to keep up. An article on local AZ radio station KTAR’s website about these record breaking games and how “things started smelling fishy” written on March 22 is already completely out of date with the current numbers.
On Sunday while the Grapefruit League had 3 of 8 games rained-out, another Cactus League single game attendance record was being broken by the Cubs and Mariners in Peoria at 13,629. Yesterday’s marquee Grapefruit League match-ups that were not rained out (MN/BOS and STL/NYM) had 7,994 and 6,731 respectively, the two Florida games combined attendance was only 1096 more than the one Cubs – Mariners game in Peoria. Yesterday’s weather may have had something to do with those low Grapefruit numbers but overall the attendance tide has turned West.
Last year in spring of 2009 it was the first time ever that the Cactus League pulled in more total fans than the Grapefruit League – 1.57 Million to 1.56 Million and that was with the Grapefruit having 16 teams to the Cactus League’s 14, with each league having 15 teams apiece this spring expect the Cactus League to win the 2010 overall attendance battle again and keep the title as long as the leagues are split in the current configuration.
Back to the recent single game record situation here in AZ, this past weekend 3 of the top 4 single game marks were set. Which including yesterdays Cubs-Mariners All-Time Cactus Single game mark of 13,629 and the second most ever 13,583 between the Dodgers -Mariners at Camelback Ranch Saturday as well as the 4th All-Time single game figure and new Hohokam Stadium record set Saturday at 13,462 with the Cubs-Padres contest. During the Saturday game at Hohokam the Cubs Media department announced the 13,462 as the Cactus League single game record, it was actually the second highest current mark (although being simultaneously broken in Glendale) but it was a Hohokam record.
Hard to keep track of it all the numbers but one thing is clear, it means a lot to these entities (Teams, Cities, Stadiums, Civic Groups) to own the attendance record, even for a day. What amazes me is that somehow these stadiums keep getting more people inside than they claim to actually hold. It appears to be a game of accounting one-upmanship for “securing sponsorships for the numerous Cactus League ballparks” as the KTAR article alludes to. By my calculations the Cubs have been involved in 7 of the top 10 All-Time single game Cactus League marks.
Who knows they may sell tickets to sit in the press box today so we can break a new record at Hohokam. Hey, why not make the Budweiser Party tent a two story or put a bleacher up on top of the center field concession building…sure it would be obstructed view (green batters eye wall) but it would like the Wrigley rooftops only inside Hohokam…just spitballing ways to get that record back this week.
No doubt in my mind that if the Cubs had a 15,000 seat stadium here in AZ they would fill it regularly and easily outdraw the competition. Such a stadium could be built and still keep the ambiance and intimacy of a small spring training park, build a couple rows higher with larger berm areas and you have the extra 1500 seats. The Ricketts say they would like a new spring ballpark that keeps the intimacy and fans close to the field and players.
Whenever a new stadium is built I sure hope it is done with these considerations in mind and it would be great to take ALL the attendance records back to the best draw in the Cactus League – Your Chicago Cubs.