MLB posts another big attendance mark in 2013
Total figure, in excess of 74 million, represents sixth-highest in history
We're not just ordinary people, we're a congregation."
W.P. Kinsella, "Shoeless Joe"
Before getting the postseason underway, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that people congregated at big league ballparks this regular season to the tune of 74,026,895 -- the sixth-highest attendance of all time. All 10 of the most-attended seasons have occurred in the past decade.
The Dodgers led the way for the first time since 2009, drawing 3,743,527 fans to Chavez Ravine on their way to a National League West title. The Yankees led the American League by attracting 3,279,589 fans, the team's 11th consecutive season atop the AL in attendance.
Driven by a compelling second half and competitive balance throughout the game, MLB averaged 30,514 fans over 2,426 dates. The 2013 total trails only the four years from 2005-08 and last year's total of 74,859,268.
The decline from last year was only 1.1 percent, despite the fact that this season featured the second-highest number of weather-related postponements -- 37 -- in the past nine years. By May of this year, the sport had compiled more rainouts in 2013 than in all of 2012, when there were 21. In late June, MLB's attendance was 4.5 percent off the pace of 2012.
"After the challenges posed by poor weather early in the season, our game showed its resiliency with a terrific second half," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "I thank baseball fans for their incredible passion and loyalty this year and throughout the last decade, which has featured unparalleled support. As October begins with tonight's highly anticipated game in Pittsburgh, we are primed for a marvelous postseason."
Eight clubs surpassed the three-million mark, while 15 eclipsed the 2.5-million mark (up from 13 in 2012). The eight to reach three million have all done so in consecutive seasons, including the Yankees (15 straight), Angels and Cardinals (10), Phillies (seven), Giants (four), and the Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers (two).
The Reds and Pirates open the postseason with the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at PNC Park, and both teams had plenty to celebrate on this list.
The Reds drew 2,492,059, establishing a record at Great American Ball Park and surpassing the previous mark of 2,355,259 in the venue's 2003 inaugural season. In addition, it was the club's highest overall attendance since 2000 and the second-highest since 1978.
The Pirates drew 2,256,862, marking the most since PNC Park's charter year in 2001 (2,436,139), and the second-best attendance in franchise history.
The Giants, coming off their second World Series title in three years, ended this season with 246 consecutive sellouts, a streak that began on Oct. 1, 2010. It is the longest active sellout streak in the Majors. Boston's regular-season record sellout streak of 794 ended early this season.
The Rangers, whose final home date was a tiebreaker loss to the Rays on Monday, posted a second successive season of at least three million for the first time. Their past two seasons have been the most-attended in franchise history.
In the AL East, the Orioles drew 2,357,561, their highest attendance since 2005, while the Blue Jays drew their most (2,536,562) since 1997.
The Nationals drew 2,652,422, their highest total at Nationals Park and the most since their inaugural season in D.C. in 2005.
The Royals contended into the final week of the season, and that was reflected at the gates as the club posted its second-highest attendance (1,750,754) in 20 years.
Ten of the 30 clubs are still playing, trying to reach the 109th World Series. Go to MLB.com/tickets for more information and to order seats while they last.