We’re coming down to the wire in the 2021 baseball season. The playoff picture is shaping up. In the National League, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have each clinched a playoff berth, although they are still battling for the title in the NL West. The Milwaukee Brewers have clinched the NL Central title, and the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are still battling it out for the NL East.
The Giants became the first team to win 100 games this season, and the Dodgers became the second this past weekend by defeating (who else?) the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The following teams have been eliminated from the playoffs: New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and the D-Backs.
In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays have clinched the AL East title and the Chicago White Sox have clinched the NL Central. The Houston Astros are on the verge of clinching the AL West.
The American League teams who have been eliminated from playoff contention include the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.
The D-Backs are neck and neck with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball. Both teams could still reach the epically awful level of 110 losses on the season. I’m surprised I haven’t heard Torey Lovullo echo the words of Casey Stengel and the 1962 Mets: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
For the most part, the answer to that appears to be “no.”
I believe Chase Field and Camden Yards should be fumigated once the season is over.
Have the D-Backs reached rock bottom yet? Consider this: it looks like they’ll barely reach an attendance of 1 million for the season. As of this writing on Sept. 26, they have drawn 980,000, an average of 12,700 per home date.
Granted, there have been restrictions due to the coronavirus. Attendance across the Major Leagues is down from what it was in 2019. Still, that’s pathetic. In the National League, only the Pirates (781,000) and the Marlins (615,000) have done worse.
To put that number in perspective, the Dodgers lead all of Major League Baseball with an attendance of 2.5 million. The Padres, who have not had a good season, are next at 2.15 million. The Braves have drawn 2.1 million.
The D-Backs were a franchise that used to be able to count on it that at least 2 million people would come to watch them play every year.
As if that weren’t enough, it’s been noted how many fans are at Chase Field to support the D-Backs’ opponents. Some fans commented on the D-Backs’ Facebook page about how many people they saw wearing blue at a recent series with the Dodgers. The cheers for the opponents are often louder than they are for the D-Backs.
I believe this is a reflection of how many people in metro Phoenix came from somewhere else. I suspect the D-Backs’ attendance would be even worse if they didn’t have all these fans of their opponents coming to the games at Chase Field.
I recall that, when the D-Backs were just starting out, they were said to have so much money and fan support, some called them the “Greenbacks.” In 1998, their first season, they set a Major League record for the fastest team to reach 1 million in attendance.
Like the D-Backs’ 2001 World Series title, those days are long gone.
The D-Backs need to give fans a reason to come out to Chase Field. They have to give them a reason to want to give the D-Backs their hard-earned money. They clearly need to field a winning team. If they can’t do that, then they should do what Bill Veeck did and at least give them a good show. If they know going to the ballpark will be a fun experience, they’ll want to go to the games.
I don’t know what the D-Backs should do. I know, however, they have to do something. It will be interesting to see what they do.