It has not been all baseball and apple pies for minor league teams in the Northeast. A long, cold and wet winter extended into April, then creeped into May for many teams in the International and Eastern leagues—including the Syracuse Chiefs. So perhaps it’s a sign that spring has finally arrived to see the Chiefs atop the minor league attendance leaderboard yesterday.
Syracuse drew 12,269 fans to NBT Bank Stadium yesterday, easily the biggest crowd in the minors and well above the ballpark’s listed capacity of 11,671. The attraction for the Chiefs? You guessed it, an Education Day promotion. (Hmm, where have we heard that one before?)
The packed house is certainly a welcome site for the Chiefs, a franchise in transition after the New York Mets bought it last fall and are planning much-need ballpark renovations in an effort to reinvigorate the local fanbase. The Chiefs currently rank last in the 14-team International League in average attendance (3,116) and have managed the fewest ballpark openings in the league (19).
Syracuse’s packed house yesterday was second to the Lansing Lugnuts in our ballpark capacity ranking, a new addition to the Attendance Tracker that sorts teams based on how close they came to filling their ballparks to capacity. The Lugnuts drew 8,304 fans yesterday, 110 percent of Cooley Law School Stadium’s listed capacity of 7,500. Like the Chiefs, Lansing hit it big on an education day promotion of their own called Grand Slam School Days, which are geared to mid-Michigan area schools and promise a great end-of-the-year event. It appears they delivered.
Rounding out the top five on the Ballpark Capacity list are the Great Lakes Loons (which packed the Dow Diamond beyond its capacity for a School Kids Day), the Hartford Yard Goats (95 percent capacity) and Trenton Thunder (89 percent).
The Round Rock Express drew the third-largest crowd of the day during a pretty cool cross-promotional event with the Nashville Sounds. The Battle for the Boot kicked off at the Dell Diamond, a nine game, home-and-home series between Round Rock and Nashville in which each team takes on a new identity. Round Rock transformed into the Dance Halls and Nashville took on the Honkey Tonks moniker. The new names, of course, were accompanied by new looks.
Below is a complete breakdown of last night’s minor league attendance.
Overall Attendance Tracker
Ballpark Capacity Tracker
And, by popular demand, we’re including the complete attendance list of every minor league team from yesterday.
|Round Rock Express||7,078||220,299||25||8,812|
|Lehigh Valley IronPigs||6,205||180,333||24||7,514|
|Hartford Yard Goats||5,935||151,808||29||5,235|
|El Paso Chihuahuas||5,880||185,959||25||7,438|
|Great Lakes Loons||5,731||34,008||20||1,700|
|Oklahoma City Dodgers||4,076||166,316||25||6,653|
|Wilmington Blue Rocks||3,632||99,152||26||3,814|
|New Hampshire Fisher Cats||3,289||100,809||22||4,582|
|New Orleans Baby Cakes||2,889||102,894||23||4,474|
|Colorado Springs Sky Sox||2,145||61,556||22||2,798|
|Cedar Rapids Kernels||1,990||42,531||26||1,636|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans||1,650||59,034||23||2,567|
|Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp||1,600||105,426||20||5,271|
|Palm Beach Cardinals||1,037||15,771||20||789|
|Down East Wood Ducks||1,025||46,016||26||1,770|
|Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||917||65,532||28||2,340|
|San Jose Giants||893||45,179||25||1,807|
|St. Lucie Mets||325||37,157||24||1,548|