Jeter’s Marlins finish as poorest home draw since 2004 Expos
MIAMI (AP) — The 25th anniversary of the Marlins franchise was seen by the fewest fans at home in team history.
The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer.
“Obviously we would like to fill it up every day, but I know it’s the first year of what we’re doing and a lot of new people and a lot of new things we’re doing at the ballpark, so it’s hard for me to assess,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
After trading star slugger Giancarlo Stanton to Jeter’s former team, the New York Yankees, during an offseason payroll purge, the Marlins went 38-43 at home and drew 811,104 for an average of 10,014.
Miami’s previous low was 813,118 in 2002.
The Marlins are last in the NL East at 62-93 overall, their eighth consecutive losing season. The Marlins have not reached the playoffs since beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
Miami’s attendance is the lowest for a big league team since the Expos drew 749,550 in 2004, their last season before moving to Washington and becoming the Nationals. Miami is finishing its seventh season at Marlins Park, built with a retractable roof to encourage attendance in Florida’s summer heat and humidty.
“I think you’re going to have low numbers just about anywhere at certain points in the season with the weather and atmosphere, it’s going to happen,” Marlins rookie Brian Anderson said. “It can be tough sometimes, but that’s just how a big league season is. It’s a grind, but we made it through it this year.”
The only other team under 1.4 million at home this year is cross-state rival Tampa Bay, which has drawn 1,091,863 with a week of home games remaining.
“Hopefully we’re playing good enough to where fans want to see it and they want to support us,” Anderson said. “We do have a good fan base down here in Miami and I think we’ve seen that especially this weekend.”
Despite the low season turnout, the Marlins turned in the second-largest weekend draw of the season at 37,625, including 13,595 on Sunday.
“The fans showed up today,” said Trevor Richards, who pitched seven innings and struck out nine. “You could hear them. It was a pretty good crowd. It fun today.”
Rookie catcher Chad Wallach hit his first big league home run, a three-run drive in a four-run third off Michael Lorenzen (3-2), who allowed nine hits in four innings. Wallach and Anderson each had three hits.
“In the big moments and we’re putting runs across, the fans are getting into it, it’s a good time and you see what it can be like it here and how much fun it can be,” Anderson said. “We look forward to more of that next year and hopefully getting more fans and getting a little bit better of an atmosphere.”
Trevor Richards (4-9) gave up three hits in seven innings, struck out nine and walked one. Tyler Kinley and Drew Rucinski finished a four-hitter.
“It was just a lot of fun,” Wallach said. “The homer was obviously fun. It was great catching Trevor out there. He was phenomenal today. He had everything going for him. It was just a fun game.”
Cincinnati finished the road portion of its schedule at 30-51, its fourth straight season of 50 or more losses away from home. The Reds are 36-40 at home.
“We certainly have to do better than that, and at home also,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “The road situation has really hurt us. I don’t really know why that would be but we have to do a better job.
Lorenzen and Wallach were former teammates at Cal State-Fullerton for two seasons and were reunited with the Reds last season.
“He is a little bit different of a pitcher now,” Wallach said. “He’s got some more pitches.”
Lorenzen was frustrated with the results of his outing.
“Nine hits, four innings eight of them being singles,” Lorenzen said. “They just singled me to death and Wallach kind of threw the knockout punch and got me with it. It’s definitely frustrating. You want them to hit the ball.”
Reds: RHP Matt Harvey (7-9, 4.92 ERA) is to start Tuesday’s opener of a two-game home series against Kansas City.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 2.35) is slated for Monday’s first game of a three-game series at Washington.