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Mustangs 24th in visits among 500+ U.S. teams
Monday, September 10, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Martinsville Mustangs had the 24th highest per-game average attendance among more than 500 teams in more than 70 summer collegiate leagues across the nation this year.
That is according to ballparkbiz.com, a website run by the trade publication Ballpark Business.
Average attendance for the summer college league baseball team’s home games at Hooker Field was 1,470 during the past season, according to the website.
That was down from 1,582 last year, figures on the website show.
Interim City Manager Leon Towarnicki said he thinks that drop in attendance likely was due to the weather.
“The only conclusion we (city and team officials) could come up with was the weather,” he said.
“Attendance was not good at all” during the team’s first few games of the season, he said, noting that games either were rained out or rain fell shortly before games started. That could have kept people at home, he said.
While attendance picked up after the wet spell, some early evenings saw temperatures in the 90s, Towarnicki said, noting that weather forecasters determined July was the hottest month on record.
The heat could have kept baseball fans out of the bleachers, he said.
This year, the Mustangs ranked seventh among the 14th Coastal Plain League teams in terms of attendance, statistics show.
In 2011, the team ranked 23rd among summer league teams nationwide. Although it ranked 24th this year, its position did not actually fall — two teams tied for 22nd, and there was no 23rd-ranked team, figures show.
The Mustangs are a city-operated team. Martinsville City Council has approved the team to continue playing at least through next year, even though it was not profitable during any of its first seven seasons.
Towarnicki is compiling financial and attendance statistics for this year that he will present to the council during its Sept. 25 meeting. Friday afternoon, he was not ready to release any information because data on the 2012 season still is coming in.
Team President Doug Christman called the ranking of 24th “a tremendous continued accomplishment for the Mustangs.”
“This is the second year in a row that the franchise has been in the nation’s top 50 teams in attendance,” he said. “This only shows that the Mustangs are still headed in the right direction.”
Overall, “we maintained our great fan base,” Christman said, noting that the team saw a near-record crowd of more than 3,300 on July 5 for an Independence Day celebration that included fireworks.