Gerrit Cole And The Star Power Of Top Prospects

Highly-touted prospect Gerrit Cole made his major-league debut for the Pirates on Tuesday night.  The 22-year-old right handed pitcher was the first overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. Heading into this season, Baseball America ranked Cole as No. 7 on the list of top 100 prospects. Even with the Pirates in contention in the National League Central — or perhaps because of it — Cole’s arrival in Pittsburgh was much anticipated.

Less than 30 minutes before first pitch, Pittsburgh sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic sent this tweet:

The security “fiasco” referred to the Pirates’ implementing a new security plan at PNC Park on Tuesday night: all fans would be “wanded” before going through the turnstiles. As John Perrotto reported:

The lines stretched for blocks and a significant number of the 30,614 in attendance missed Cole striking out Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco on three pitches to open the game. It’s one of those moments you never get back as a fan.

According to some of those who got caught in line, security was understaffed and extremely slow in the wanding procedures.

Of course, fans waiting in line to enter the ballpark had already purchased their tickets. Sure, some fans might have come to the ballpark intending to buy walk-up tickets, seen the security lines, and left. Or not. We’ll never know.

But let’s focus on the additional 8,000 tickets the Pirates sold after announcing on Saturday that Cole would make his debut on Tuesday — a three-day lead time, not four as Kovacevic tweeted. Is that applause-worthy? Or not that much of a big deal, as Kovacevic remarked? How does that compare to extra tickets sold for the major-league debuts of other highly-touted prospects?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

Single-game ticket sales increase for a variety of reasons. Good weather, promotions and giveaways, and a winning team bring fans out to the ballpark.  Weekend games tend to have higher attendance than weekday games. Certain teams, like the Yankees and Red Sox, attract big crowds in every city.

Even with those caveats, it’s worth taking a look how attendance spiked — or didn’t — at the home debut of recent top prospects. The below table identifies eight pitchers and nine position players who were ranked between No. 1 and No. 11 in Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospects in the year the player debuted. The one exception is Matt Harvey, who was ranked No. 54 last year before the Mets called him up in late July. I included Harvey because he was surrounded by a good deal of hype, perhaps because of the New York spotlight.

For pitchers, I included only top prospects who broke into the majors as starters. So you won’t find Chris Sale, Matt Moore, or Shelby Miller on the list. I took the same approach with hitters. Buster Posey, for example, was a September call-up for the Giants in 2009, the year he was BA’s No. 14 prospect. But he subbed into several games before finally getting a start behind the plate the last week of the season. Jason Heyward, BA’s No. 5 prospect heading into the 2010 season, didn’t make the cut because he debuted on Opening Day, which has its own special attendance magic.

With the players identified, I looked at the attendance for their home debut, compared to the attendance for their team’s last home game prior to the debut and the home game immediately following it. I also noted what day of the week the debut took place, as we’d expect to see an attendance bump on the weekends. My goal was to try to isolate the debut factor as much as possible.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

 

Players BA Prospect Ranking Team Home Debut As a Starter Home Debut Attendance Prior Home Game Att. Next Home Game Att.
Tim Lincecum 2007 No. 11 Giants 5/6/2007 (Sunday) 38,738 40,796 37,365
Clayton Kershaw 2008 No. 7 Dodgers 5/25/2008 (Sunday) 46,566 44,785 39,098
Tommy Hanson 2009 No. 4 Braves 6/7/2009 (Sunday) 33,428 32,721 21,856
Madison Bumgarner 2009 No. 9 Giants 9/8/2009 (Tuesday) 34,524 37,132 30,312
Stephen Strasburg 2010 No. 2 Nationals 6/8/2010 (Tuesday) 40,315 27,202 18,876
Matt Harvey 2012 No. 54 Mets 8/10/2012 (Friday) 25,101 28,985 30,388
Jose Fernandez 2013 No. 5 Marlins 4/13/2013 (Saturday) 20,037 17,923 21,412
Gerrit Cole 2012 No. 7 Pirates 6/11/2013 (Tuesday) 30,614 29,407 19,966
Justin Upton 2007 No. 9 Dbacks 8/7/2007 (Tuesday) 25,340 30,535 23,082
Evan Longoria 2008 No. 2 Rays 4/12/2008 (Saturday) 19,295 12,146 16,748
Jay Bruce 2008 No. 1 Reds 5/27/2008 (Tuesday) 17,964 34,612 15,797
Matt Wieters 2009 No. 1 Orioles 5/29/2009 (Friday) 42,704 11,937 34,567
Giancarlo Stanton 2010 No. 3 Marlins 6/15/2010 (Tuesday) 17,130 11,717 17,014
Mike Moustakas 2011 No. 9 Royals 6/21/2011 (Tuesday) 19,305 13,941 14,265
Mike Trout 2011 No. 2 Angels 7/8/2011 (Friday) 40,161 31,549 44,111
Bryce Harper 2012 No. 1 Nationals 5/1/2012 (Tuesday) 22,675 26,745 16,274
Manny Machado 2012 No. 11 Orioles 8/9/2012 (Thursday) 21,226 17,312 17,277

Among pitching prospects, the only one who seems to have moved the needle more than Gerrit Cole is Stephen Strasburg. Look at the drop off in attendance between Cole’s debut and the game the next day: nearly 10,000 fewer fans at PNC Park to see the Pirates take on the Giants. There was also a big drop off after Tommy Hanson‘s debut, but his first game was on a Sunday — a day with traditionally high attendance. I’d guess the decline in attendance the next home game had more to do with it being a weekday than anything else.

With the position player prospects, Orioles fans seemed the most responsive to the hype. Attendance at Matt Wieters‘ and Manny Machado‘s home debuts were significantly  higher than the games before and after, particularly when you take the usual weekend bump into account.

So good on you, Pittsburgh. Perhaps Dejan Kovacevic doesn’t think 8,000 extra tickets sold is big deal. But when compared to the home debuts of other highly-regarded prospects, Gerrit Cole‘s star attraction shines pretty bright.



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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


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DirtWoman
Guest
DirtWoman
2 years 11 months ago

Dejan has gone from a very good baseball beat writer at the P-G to a knee-jerk polemicist at the Trib-Review. He’s barely readable. It will cause him considerable anguish to praise this management team if/when the Pirates finish above .500.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
2 years 11 months ago

Couldn’t agree more, its amazing how DK went from being one of the best reporters (if not the best) in town to a complete hack with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Washington. I’m sure he already is penning another article on how the Pirates system hasn’t improved and how his daughter could outpick NH in the draft.

For a sports crazy city, Pittsburgh sure has some awful sports reporters at every level. These bulk of these guys can;t even be bothered to know facts about the teams they cover let alone know anything about the leagues/players as a whole. Its really frustrating.

Steve Z
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

For a sports crazy city, Pittsburgh sure has some awful sports reporters at every level.

Yellow journalism threatens to become the norm these days, sports journalism especially.

DK has traveled a strange road these past few years. He once was the best sports reporter in Pittsburgh and his work had gained national recognition because of its high quality. Today knowledgeable fans considers his work incredible until proven otherwise.

Scott
Guest
Scott
2 years 11 months ago

There were also two big concerts (The National and some boy band from the 80s) as well as an arts festival in town that night. I would have been at the game had I not had tickets to The National show already. I’m sure others would have as well.

Cody
Guest
Cody
2 years 11 months ago

Side note to the actual topic of the post: I went to The National concert in Baltimore and it was great! I highly recommend them to anyone who loves a great live show.

Jon
Guest
Jon
2 years 11 months ago

I actually did both. Got into the game on the cheap, watched Cole’s first 3 innings, and then went over to Stage AE to even see most of the opener. The National rocked. Great night in Pittsburgh.

Tacobomber
Guest
Tacobomber
2 years 11 months ago

So you saw the National Pastime, time passed and you saw The National?

Shawn
Guest
Shawn
2 years 11 months ago

I would like to see what has a bigger impact on attendence, the debut of a top prospect during the season, or the debut of a major piece acquired at the trade deadline? I guess the prospect would still garner more attention, since there has been a longer time of anticipation. I was gonna say the debut of a big FA signing, but the “start of the season” excitement would skew the numbers.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 11 months ago

Although, Pittsburgh has seen many prospects debut during their time of famine, but, Matt Morris notwithstanding, they have not seen any major pieces acquired at the trade deadline. This has to make a difference. I would bet that they would see a fairly significant attendance boost if they nabbed Cliff Lee or some other player that would cost more than they should probably spend.

adam
Guest
adam
2 years 11 months ago

Dejan has been a habitual cherry picker when it comes to stats and “facts” the last couple of years. But in fairness I bought my tickets on stub hub Friday when rumors were floating about his debut. Whether or not stub hub purchases are included in the aforementioned 8000 I don’t know but some may have been acquired in a 3-5 day span.

mike wants wins
Guest
mike wants wins
2 years 11 months ago

8000 is not a lot? That’s $400,000 at $50 per person on tickets and miscellany…..how is that not a lot? 8000/22000, that’s more than 33%! How is that not a lot?

What was he expecting?

TKay
Guest
TKay
2 years 11 months ago

Agree that it’s a lot, but Pirates tickets at $50 per person seems like a stretch, no? Still, gotta be very happy about getting 30k out for a Tuesday game in Pittsburgh.

joser
Guest
joser
2 years 11 months ago

“tickets and miscellany” — it appears that estimate is including things like beer, food, and possibly Cole jerseys (averaged across the 8000), and may be based on this year’s “Fan Cost Index” of $164.84 for Pittsburgh, but that includes

four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.

That’s always struck me as unrealistically high (the fans that purchase all that are going to be balanced out by fans who pay for nothing more than a ticket, so the average is going to be much lower, especially considering repeat fans are not buying hats on every visit). The average ticket at a Pirates game is $17.21, and even when you factor in SF as a visitor bumps Pirates tickets by ~$6, the Pirates are probably not capturing $40 per additional attendee.

jg941
Guest
jg941
2 years 11 months ago

Hah – good point. For one game, that’s also more revenue brought in than Cole will make this entire season, in case DK wanted to look at it from yet another obvious perpsective (which he likely won’t).

Neal
Guest
Neal
2 years 11 months ago

Dejan’s response to this will be a subtweet about nitpicking BLOGGERS and to block everyone who tweets this to him

PackBob
Guest
PackBob
2 years 11 months ago

Some of this may also be tied to the level of hype and length of time hyped. I don’t think any prospect has been hyped as much as Strasberg, even Harper.

Anon
Guest
Anon
2 years 11 months ago

The ‘wanding’ policy makes me curious. Do other teams do the same? What are the typical security procedures for MLB teams?

The Cardinals check bags, purses, etc., but that seems more to enforce food/drink rules than anything else. It is typical for the bag checker to use a small stick (e.g. a drumstick) to shift items in the bag to see the bottom. I’ve never seen anyone put a hand in a bag or on a person. http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=security

joser
Guest
joser
2 years 11 months ago

At Mariners games they look in bags (or anything bulky) and diligently demand you forfeit any drinks (solid food of any sort is allowed however) but don’t seem to care about anything else. I’ve never seen wands used at a baseball game, not even the first home game after Sept 11th.

joser
Guest
joser
2 years 11 months ago

That said, it appears the NFL is implementing new rules regarding bags and searches starting this season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the MLB follows with something similar.

Cabe
Guest
Cabe
2 years 11 months ago

I can think of four people, myself included, who would have gone to the game if I had not already had tickets to the National concert. 8,000 is alot, especially considering how beat down the Pirates fan base is.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
2 years 11 months ago

Another group of us already had tickets for Father’s Day with Cole scheduled to pitch. I know that’s why we didn’t go.

Not to make excuses, a 8,000 walk up sale is huge for a Tuesday night as is 30,000 actual bodies in house when they are lucky to have 15,000 show up most Tuesday’s.

Retirenutting
Guest
Retirenutting
2 years 11 months ago

I really enjoyed seeing Fangraphs call out DK’s unnecessarily negative response to Cole’s comprehensively positive debut — which really doesn’t amount to anything more than a grown man with a public-facing job pouting over the poor performance in the postseaon by his beloved Penguins.

David Laurila
Member
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t think it’s completely fair to say FanGraphs “called out” Dejan Kovacevic. His comment prompted the article, but Wendy hadn’t yet done the research. Had the data proven Kovacevic right, it still would have been written.

Retirenutting
Guest
Retirenutting
2 years 11 months ago

Right, but when it proved untrue… his assertion was called out. Semantics, yeah?

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

It is not being negative, it is stating facts. I would not be surprised if you did not know the difference.

matt w
Guest
matt w
2 years 11 months ago

I know the difference!

It’s that facts are true.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Its obvious that you will never learn. Good day, Matt.

The Surging Danube
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Its obvious that you will never learn.

In fact, I’m not sure what’s applause-worthy about that comment.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 11 months ago

You can use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Nice Try

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 11 months ago

DK being short for ‘Dick’, yes? Yes.

ed
Guest
ed
2 years 11 months ago

Clearly you’re unmarried, because you would absolutely know there is a negative way of stating facts.

mez
Guest
mez
2 years 11 months ago

1) next home game attendance for Washington after Strasburg’s debut (40,315) was 18,876. a decline of 21,439 or 53.2%
2) next home game attendance for Pittsburgh after Cole’s debut (30,615) was 19.966. a decline of 10,649 or 34.7%
3) next home game attendance for Washington after Harper’s debut (22,675) was 16,274. a decline of 6401 or 28.2%

I didn’t include weekend debuts. But referencing the #’s on the chart, Cole’s debut “moved the needle” even more than the anointed one’s (Harper) debut.

Just stating the facts. Go Bucs!

Dave (UK)
Guest
Dave (UK)
2 years 11 months ago

It would be useful to know what days the previous/following home games were, as the only fixed part of the weekly schedule is the 3 weekend games.

John Franco
Guest
John Franco
2 years 11 months ago

SSS but here are the Pirates other Tuesday games from 2013:

5/7 vs SEA – 12,973
5/14 vs MIL – 11,556
5/21 vs CHC – 16,092

Gerrit Cole night was also a Groupon night which is the only reason the Pirates managed to sell 22,000 tickets before announcing that Cole was starting.

There was a buzz all over the city for Cole. Dejan is an idiot.

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 11 months ago

How did Matt Harvey only rank 54? Did he suddenly gain his velocity during the year he debuted? Did he have some sort of problem that he fixed that year? That seems very low considering how polished and dominant he was when he arrived.

Was Strasburg’s debut the greatest of all time in terms of anticipation and performance?

I do think Harper’s would have been bigger if it had been in June as originally planned and there had been a couple months of hype building up to it. Instead, he was called up out of nowhere (his AAA stats weren’t even stellar) and debuted in Los Angeles before coming back home. Even then, I was surprised that game didn’t sell out.

AJ
Guest
AJ
2 years 11 months ago

Will DK block Fangraphs as well? Or will he pick a fight with someone at Fangraphs similar to what he did vs Charlie Wilmoth at Bucs Dugout only to delete his own tweets a few hours later? What a tool he is.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

I have to keep the columns and links near the top and Charlie knows he was wrong.

The Humber Games
Guest
The Humber Games
2 years 11 months ago

Next question is why Reds fans hated Bruce so much :)

TKay
Guest
TKay
2 years 11 months ago

Strasburg mania was special. Rumors of his start date began in March. People were buying tickets for a bunch of surrounding games, hoping they’d be the Strasburg debut. Also, ticket prices for that game doubled. Hard to calculate all of that kinda thing, especially for each player.

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
2 years 11 months ago

So was Harper’s debut kind of a “been there, done that”? Or is that the effect that Tuesday has on society?

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 11 months ago

It was only Harper’s home debut, not his Major League debut. He was called up out of need rather suddenly out of need and debuted in L.A.

BeastJunior
Guest
BeastJunior
2 years 11 months ago

Even knowing what we know about how teams time the promotion of top prospects in regard to service time, arbitration clocks, super two eligibility, etc., I still find it striking that only one player had to be eliminated from the study because he debuted on opening day.

jwise224
Member
2 years 11 months ago

The day before and day after attendance is a bit misleading as the day of the week has such a major impact on attendance. I’d rather see the average attendance on the day of the week the prospect made his debut and what the percentage increase was. For example, did Cole’s debut cause a 30% increase in Tuesday ticket sales?

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

This is a very cute article but you bloggers always team up and create these silly articled thst mean nothing. Way to nitpick the stats to make your position look good.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Also I am on vacation right now so don’t waste my time trying to respond to me because I won’t talk about this team anymore for awhile. Either they win, or the get fired. That is it.

Roto Wizard
Member
Roto Wizard
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks for the lol moment, way to prove all the comments above correct!

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Bloggers United You guys are like a sabermetric version of the Justice League

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 11 months ago

Wow, somebody pays you to write?

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

That is what happens when you are a professional.

Steve Z
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Ummm, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter are professional writers. What does that fact entail about professional writers?

And, these days, Charlie W. gets some money for his writing and editing work. Moreover, there are bloggers who produce political journalism of the highest quality. Some of them even get paid for doing so. They move without friction between the old and new media.

The upshot: The distinction between blogger and professional does not carry much weight. There are bloggers worth reading and professionals who are tools, willing propagandists or clowns.

We should respect quality work where and whenever it appears.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 11 months ago

That’s not true. There are plenty of professionals who can put together clean, coherent sentences. There are also professionals that actually do research before writing something.

jg941
Guest
jg941
2 years 11 months ago

Only in a world filled with a gazillion hack writers who happen to get some form of a ‘paycheck’ would a hack-in-serious-need-of-a-Twitter-editor like DK equate getting said paycheck with being a decent and knowledgeable writer, particularly a “columnist”.

And the fix is so easy for him, too. If I was his friend, offering friendly advice (and I wonder why no one else tells him this), I would just tell him that people say stupid crap all the time, it’s normal, and when you say it, occasionally it will turn out to be wrong, and it’s always best to just mea culpa, own up to it and move on.

But DK’s just a guy incapable of that level of self-deprecation, which only gets magnified from time-to-time (the dumb, baseless comments, that is) because it’s published (despite efforts to “un-publish” his thoughts from time-to-time).

Most writers have, and need, an editor. And those that need them the most, like DK, probably need to stay as far away from media like Twitter as possible. We see it all the time now – nothing will un-mask your inner stupidity, ignorance, ugliness or ineptitude than having unfiltered, unmitigated access to an avenue to share every uniformed thought that pops into your head, at any time.

IMO :-)

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Nice Try

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
2 years 11 months ago

Words of a supposedly legitimate “journalist”:

“Also I am on vacation right now so don’t waste my time trying to respond to me because I won’t talk about this team anymore for awhile. Either they win, or the get fired. That is it.”

Just using these 25 or so words, some of the reasons I am surprised you get a paycheck:
1. “don’t waste my time…” – Don’t you mean “don’t waste your time”, if you are not going to respond how does it waste your time? But of course you did respond. You’re obviously a child.
2. “Either they win, or the get fired.” – I assume you mean “they” but I’m not sure because this sentence makes no sense. Who is they? The Pirate Parrot? What do they have to win? The World Series? Tonight’s game?
3. “That is it.” – No, it is not.

I would suggest that you stick to your statement that you will not write about this team for a while, only I’d push that further. I’d suggest you not write awhile about anything (note the correct usage of awhile/a while). I’d suggest a new line of work, you really suck balls at this.

ed
Guest
ed
2 years 11 months ago

I can’t believe the original author would post in this manner. It seems so…insecure.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 11 months ago

I’m having a hard time telling if you’re real or a parody account. You might consider that a bad sign.

Straw Man
Guest
Straw Man
2 years 11 months ago

this

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 11 months ago

Or a great sign for the purveyor of parody…

bucsfan1978
Guest
bucsfan1978
2 years 11 months ago

This is DK at his finest…..

And now the whole baseball world gets to see what Pittsburgh does everyday. The condescending, passive aggressive, DK.

ibid
Guest
ibid
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah it probably would have been better if he hadn’t started responding to some of the folks above. Readers that were unaware of DK, or the particulars of his tweet, or were just neutral in general, just got a quick dose in his style of engagement: ridicule and dismissal.

bucsfan1978
Guest
bucsfan1978
2 years 11 months ago

I can’t imagine that Trib management encourages of such interactions….

He will be trying to remove his posts above very soon.

SteveD3
Guest
SteveD3
2 years 11 months ago

I have to be honest, when writing for the Post-Gazette, it was the finest coverage around. I would follow his blog everyday for Pirates news. Now over at the Trib, i could care less…interest lost. I think his priorities are elsewhere and if so, leave them there.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Any idiot who thought I was really dejan kovacevic is a total moron. Do you really believe he would waste his entire day commenting to u losers and give pub to an article that refutes his opinion.

ibid
Guest
ibid
2 years 11 months ago

Well it can sometimes be difficult discerning the difference when one troll masquerades as another. So kudos, I guess.

And FWIW, yes, I do believe he would waste his day commenting on articles refuting his opinion, because frankly, he’s done it a handful of times before.

Operation Shutdown
Guest
Operation Shutdown
2 years 11 months ago

Uh, yes. Yes I do believe that.

Justin Bailey
Guest
Justin Bailey
2 years 11 months ago

NO U

Steve Z
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

It does not matter much if DK refers to Dejan Kovacivic or to a pretender or whether anyone believed DK referred to Dejan Kovacivic when, in fact, it was the ‘ruse’ of a troll. As long as DK made arguments akin to those Dejan Kovacivic would make, then responding to them as such had value.

I doubt that Dejan Kovacivic would write the following:

This is a very cute article but you bloggers always team up and create these silly articled thst mean nothing. Way to nitpick the stats to make your position look good.

But he is capable of bashing bloggers.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 11 months ago

OK, now I’m leaning towards real.

ed
Guest
ed
2 years 11 months ago

Nice Try

TeacherinTejas
Guest
TeacherinTejas
2 years 11 months ago

DK: “That is what happens when you are a professional”

Ah the equivalent of “I have a PhD in Third World Transgendered Marxist Literature” you must address me as DOCTOR.”

Justin Bailey
Guest
Justin Bailey
2 years 11 months ago

Why am I not surprised that you live in Texas?

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 11 months ago

To be fair, that sounds like a pretty tough topic. I’d probably address them as “Dr.” in the correct context. Sourcing a sufficient corpus of texts and references from the developing world already sounds like a pretty significant undertaking.

By comparison, being a professional writer means the exact same thing as being an amateur writer, except that you have finally found someone willing to pay you.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 11 months ago

Which is not to disparage professional writers, but simply to say that being a professional writer does not mean being a writer who conducts oneself professionally (nor the converse).

Kosstic518
Guest
Kosstic518
2 years 11 months ago

Great article. I’ve been calling out DK for years, and this is probably the best article ever to appear on fangraphs. The dude is an idiot and will be out of a job shortly as the few old angry yinz who read his filth die off over time. Wendy you are a hero.

santrj
Member
santrj
2 years 11 months ago

Dejan was the best beat reporter; I can’t read him anymore. That being said my story does reflect 8000 as being not a big deal.

On Tuesday July 17th 2003, the Pirates returned from a six game road trip. I was at this game, I was a walk-up, I was above normally excited to see my team. On that day, a Tuesday, the attendance was 32,304. The previous and ensuing weekday games had attendance of 19,947 and 14,271 respectively. Why this increase? I can’t speak for the other 15,194 above average present that day, but on July 9th in Milwaukee, Randall Simon swung a bat at a girl in a sausage costume.

Conclusions: In Pittsburgh, the homecoming of a crappy first basemen with a minor assault charge is more celebrated that the debut of the best pitching prospect in twenty years.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 11 months ago

To be fair, Gerrit Cole doesn’t even have a plate appearance against a sausage this year, let alone a hit.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
2 years 11 months ago

So basically, with around a 6,000 fan difference in the average of the 2 sandwiching games and his debut, if each of those fans spent about 85 bucks a piece, his debut pays a league minimum salary.

kiss my GO NATS
Guest
kiss my GO NATS
2 years 11 months ago

other than the fact that I doubt casual fans coming to a game to see a trending player would pay an average ticket price of $85 outside of NYC and Boston, you have a good point.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
2 years 11 months ago

Parking, a ticket, merch, foot, etc. it’s overly simplistic and pretty much only counting revenue and assuming the team gets 100% of each of those.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
2 years 11 months ago

Also, the previous home game was a Sunday. So really, the number of extra tickets is greater. Basically, his debut paid his salary.

Gary
Guest
Gary
2 years 11 months ago

Might be useful to include date of last home game. Food for thought. Otherwise great job Wendy.

Gary
Guest
Gary
2 years 11 months ago

Sorry meant day of the week of last home game.

Feeding the Abscess
Guest
Feeding the Abscess
2 years 11 months ago

How many of the Tuesday games in this sample had a previous home game that was played on Sunday?

Danny
Guest
Danny
2 years 11 months ago

The Strasburg debut was one of the most hyped games in my 20 years of attending Washington sports games (kind of a sad statement I know). I have gone to Caps playoff game 7s, Opening day, Monday Night Skins games, Stanley Cup Finals, all somewhat less hyped than this. Maybe opening night of Nats Park was a harder ticket, but Strasburgs debut had people buying tickets for the entire week he was speculated to start. I got lucky and a friend had an extra ticket and the place was just crazy. Same buzz as playoff games easily perhaps his performance made it entirely more pleasantly memorable, but when he K’d his final three batters of the 7th (I believe it was all 3) there was a feeling that this was a special moment in baseball history and one the moments in a sports stadium I will never forget. I try not to overhype or over dramatize the present but of the hundreds of games I have attented it is easily atop 5 most anticipated game, and definitely #1 for a single player.

The excitement he brought was incredible and would be hard to top by any other rookie. DC had been dying for a star, especially in baseball which it hadn’t had since Walter Johnson. Now RG3 has taken the torch somewhat, but eve he didn’t have the lengthy hype of Strasburg as no one was sure exactly how RG3 would do I the NFL. With Stras it was almost a given he would dominate. With Haroer it was different because he didn’t dominate the minors the way Stras had and he made his debut on the road. Plus 4-5 ABs is different tehan 90-100 pitches and the game being a pitchers to battle somewhat himself.

Cool look at the other debuts and will be interested in the Wheeler debut next week in NY.

Dejan K
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

Nobody should be that excited.

1) 8000 extra fans is not very many, regardless of what the aythor of this article inists.
2) Cole wasnt that great. He only struck out 3.
3) The Pirates deserve every bit of criticism they receive.

DK
Guest
2 years 11 months ago

I already pulled this shtick pal.

DK
Guest
DK
2 years 11 months ago

I am definitely the real author and I am suing all of you for defamation. I’LL SEE YOU IN COURT BLOGGERS

slander
Guest
slander
2 years 11 months ago

Fangraphs needs to grow a couple and clean up their message system by implementing a simple tag for known journalists who care to respond to their posts. This stuff is what gave bloggers in general a bad name.

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