It’s been a decent season for the Atlanta Braves.
They have the best ERA in baseball at 3.18, the lowest mark since 2002 when they had a 3.13 ERA. Atlanta leads the National League in homers and it’s a ten-homer edge over the Cubs. With 161 homers, they already have twelve more than last season. Now, sure, for the third consecutive season, they will probably set the franchise mark in strikeouts in a single season. Regardless, they are fourth in the National League in R/G with 4.34.
But those are commonly discussed on TV, the radio, and other blogs – especially the strikeout part. One more category surprised me today.
The Braves are fifth in the majors in positive difference in attendance per game compared to 2012. Last season, the Braves averaged 29,071 per game through September 6th. The league average was 30,984. While the league average has fell to 30,558 this season, the Braves are averaging 31,399. Now, that mark is only 16th in the game so it can’t be celebrated all that much. But the difference in +2,328 is the fifth most in the majors on a per-game basis. Historically, Atlanta’s attendance wains when school starts back up so attendance could suffer for the next few weeks, but while a majority of major league teams are attracting less people than they did last season, the Braves are in select company. Only the Blue Jays, Orioles, Dodgers, and Nationals have a better difference.
Now, that probably doesn’t mean that the payroll will see any bump based on attendance figures and trends. It’s still good news if it’s anything, though. Atlanta hasn’t averaged 31,000 people since 2008 and was under 30,000 in three of the last four years. Now, being in first place helps, but Atlanta was competitive regardless over the past few years.
Atlanta is an exciting team. There is a lot of exciting youth on this team with Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, and Alex Wood. After a worrisome lost year at Gwinnett, Julio Teheran has became the force prospect “experts” believed he would be. Brian McCann would like you to know that he would take Mike Minor against any other pitcher in the game. And of course there’s that whole bear guy. Evan Gattis is such a fan favorite because he helps prove the whole adage. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.
Hopefully, the attendance stays above 31,000 for the rest of the season and maybe next year, following a World Title run, we’ll see a nice attendance boom to go with it.