The Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles both set record lows in attendance on Monday night, due to a combination of poor play, bad weather, and a string of recent poor results.
The Chicago White Sox also hosted an almost empty game, as the team decided to play through snowy conditions.
The empty stadiums led to some surreal images of fans occupying entire sections themselves.
Baseball season has just begun, but the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles are already having trouble drawing a crowd.
On Monday night, both teams broke long-held records for crowd size. The Marlins posted a paid attendance of just 7,003 fans — the lowest number since 2006 when the team switched to recording attendance based strictly on tickets sold. For the Orioles, the crowd of 7,915 was a record low at Camden Yards, discounting their 2015 game when fans were not allowed into the stadium amid protests in the city.
For the Marlins, the lack of fans isn't all that difficult a problem to diagnose. The franchise is going through growing pains after a new ownership group helmed by Derek Jeter stripped the team for parts and sent superstars Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich off to greener pastures in return for prospects and hopefully, future success.
The Marlins have long been one of the lowest-drawing teams in the majors and were also coming off of their worst loss in franchise history over the weekend — a 20-1 drubbing against the Philadelphia Phillies. Lacking star power and recently embarrassed by a division rival, it's no wonder that the Miami faithful — however many of them remain — didn't feel like lugging themselves out to the stadium on a Monday night.
The problem for the Orioles felt a bit worse. With less than 8,000 fans in attendance, Camden Yards felt like a ghost town. Built to seat 45,971, the stadium was as empty as it has ever been since opening in 1992.
Photos posted from inside the stadium showed a lonely scene.
To be fair, it was a 44 degree Monday night in Baltimore — not the best conditions for a night out on the town. It's possible that when summer comes around attendance will pop back up into more respectable numbers. But at 4-7 and already five games back on the division-leading Red Sox in an AL East packed with talent, there's no guarantee that the Orioles will still be in the hunt even as soon as July.
The low mark is especially depressing when you consider that the Orioles sold out spring training games with better attendance numbers.
But baseball's attendance problems didn't end with the Marlins and Orioles on Monday. Earlier in the day, the White Sox hosted the Tampa Bay Rays in front of another dismal crowd. While the team announced a paid-attendance of just over 10,000, bad weather — the Cubs decided to cancel their game outright due to snow in Chicago — led to some estimates of just hundreds in the stands.
It's easier to forgive the White Sox for their poor showing as they were competing against precipitation, freezing temperatures, and school and work hours. But the images from the game are still quite jarring.
The Marlins and Orioles both lost in front of their home crowds, while those that braved the freezing temperatures in Chicago were at least treated to a White Sox win on the day. Hopefully some fans were able to finally snag some foul balls.