A few days ago, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost made comments about the Kansas City Royals fanbase and attendance at Kauffman Stadium. I am not, nor will ever be, in the business of commenting about cities and fanbases I am not knowledgeable about, but the incident did lead some in the media to compare Yost to Evan Longoria who made similar comments about the Rays fanbase in 2010.
For those unfamiliar with Longoria’s comments:
MLB Network Radio caught up with Longoria this week to get his thoughts on Yost and players talking about attendance.
Of course, players, managers, and everyone else on the field wants to see fans in the seats. The players enjoy the game, they enjoy the celebration of winning, and they want to hear the adoration of the crowd. When I write a good post, I love comments and I love when you share it with friends, family, and other fans. That’s human nature.
But Longoria only has it half right when he talks about fan finances as the main driver as to whether they are in the seats or not.
There are many complexities behind attendance that players and managers don’t know about. They are not the businessmen behind the team. They are the labor. They don’t control marketing, advertising, broadcasting rights, or the finances. Their work is seen by the recipients of these efforts. If the best team played in Antarctica with no broadcast, would anyone see it?
I would compare the comments of Yost and Longoria to a chef who wonders why the restaurant he toils in isn’t crowded every night. The chef could prepare the best meal in the world but if the restaurant is not near the population, if the meal is overpriced, if no one knows of the restaurant, the waitstaff is not friendly, or any other myriad of misdecisions, not as many people will be in the restaurant as the chef expects.
That’s not the chef’s fault.