This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of going to Minute Maid for the first time since I moved to Illinois a few years ago. I lived in Houston for close to 20 years, and enjoyed many games with my father -- through good times and bad.
I noticed at the game on Sunday (vs. the Brewers and Yovani Gallardo) that fan attendance was way, way down. A little research showed me that this is a trend, not an exception to a rule of true fandom. We're ranked (Houston, as a city) 27th in the league. This places us just above teams you expect to have low attendance (Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cleveland). What gives?
The average attendance is 21,283 in a 40,981 seat stadium, putting us (Houston) right at 52 percent capacity each game.
I understand that by writing here, on a fan site, that I am probably preaching to the choir. What is there to do? Why aren't fans coming out to the game?
When I was a little girl and the Astros were bad, we (Houstonians) still came out to the ballpark each night and each day. It seems that Astros fans have suddenly put their fandom in safes, neatly tucked away for when it is "cool" to bring it back out again. I don't want to believe it.
I went to a game earlier this season at Wrigley Field between the Astros and Cubs. Cubs fans can get pretty rowdy, even rude at times, and they started telling me (decked out in full Astros gear) that the Astros were a fair weather team with fair weather fans. I defended my beloved Astros until I was blue in the face, but after going to the game on Sunday against the Brewers, I began to think that maybe they were a little right. I even see that maybe Houston knows it, too.
It even appears that the Astros have taken great strides to make it more economical to come out and enjoy a game, with promotions and specials on everyday of the week.
Again, I can hear the fans saying that the team isn't even worth going to see (it was difficult to watch them struggle on Sunday), but that's not what being a fan is about. You go to support and because they are your team. As one of the largest cities in the country, we should be a thriving sports town.
I'm curious, as an Astros fan, to hear what fans that still live in Houston think of this. What's going on? How can we get fans back in the seats?