MINNEAPOLIS - Target Field, during Twins games, is a study in contrasts.
The average attendance (through 9/13) is 31,028 or 2,234,020 fans. However, the stadium is often more than half empty.
The difference is attributed to the Major League Baseball policy of reporting "paid" attendance, which includes season ticket holders, many of whom have chosen to stay away from in person appearances at the games. The Twins front office points to a dismal performance on the field.
"Obviously this is the third year of disappointing performance on the field. Nobody sugar coats that. It is painfully clear to all of us," said Kevin Smith, Twins spokesperson.
"We rank 12th in the league, in all of baseball, for attendance in 2013. That is still pretty darn good and you have really got to give credit to the fans and the fan base that are continuing to come out to support this team," Smith added.
However, the lack of physical fans in the stands has hurt local businesses who rely on Twins attendance to boost patronage in their bars and restaurants.
"We're a volume bar so the more people that go to the Twins games the more people we see in our Pub, " said Dave Hurlburt, Manager of Kieran's Irish Pub on First Avenue.
"Obviously when the Twins don't perform well in the field, we see that as a direct reflection in our business. So, it is actually a huge, huge thing when they don't draw as well as they did. Couple of years ago, when the team was still new, Target Field was still new, it was great! Everybody was having good time. All the bars up and down first street were having great numbers, everything was awesome, but the team doesn't draw, we don't draw. It's the same thing, you know?"
The Twins and the bar owners are hoping 2014, with the glamour of hosting the All-Star game, will be a different story for Target Field attendance.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)