Question to owners and Beane
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| By sactodavey on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 03:25 pm:|
why couldn't we just sign Tejadah, Foulk and guillen and suck it up for Dye and Long and Mercir for 1 more season or make a trade to move 1 of them , it would have been nice to keep the team intack 1 more year at least.
fans who supported the team with 2.2 mill this last year i think we deserved to have our team back even if it meant no extra $$$ in schitts pocket and a write off for 1 yr , why does this offseason trade bullshit have to happen this way??
when They got Lilly they talked about his potential and finnaly he showed it in sept -oct and then they trade him they got a player who had more heart then anyone we have seen in a long time in Guillen and they apparently are not going to sign him and they let the other 2 mainstays walk maybe, i just see a huge drop off in attendance next year, because we are the die hards but normal fans are not going to put up with this bllshit anymore!!!!
yes, unfortunately we all will be. the facts and numbers do not lie. people attend when we win. I was going to walk when they got rid of mcguire, and I am still here. and you will be also. its not a judgment, it is an observation. we will find new favorites, and in a year or so, we wont even think it looks strnage to see miggy in a dogers uniform. Heck, in the end I could look at scott brosius in a yankees uniform for lengthy periods without wanting t strangle him
| By raiderjohn on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 04:18 pm:|
Do we know approximately how much revenue is generated based on 2.2 million turns of the turnstyle? I would like to see if they're making any money at all?
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 04:56 pm:|
Why don't we signt Tejada?
Yes, the A's drew 2.2 million, but they have lower ticket prices than most teams in baseball. Including a 2 dollar ticket night, and there are still PLENTY of games where the attendance leaves something to be desired. Its really hard to justify spending lots of money for players that are not drawing enough fans or TV ratings to pay their salary. Ask The Texas Rangers about that. Do you really think that 3 million fans are going to just start showing up next year. HELL NO. And, whats so wrong with making money. I like making money, all of you like making money. Why can't Schott make money? Every year they win.
Thats why we don't resign Tejada!
| By mutiny on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:07 pm:|
jesse, schott makes plenty of money. i, for one, think that owners make a ton of money on their other business ventures, so i can't figure out why they can't break even on their sports teams.
regardless, i think a's fans are asking for something for their years of support. indeed, attendance is not what it should be, but we can thank schott for some of that. not to mention the fact that our attendance is on the rise the past few years and ranks in the middle in terms of AL teams.
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:24 pm:|
But the average ticket price has to be considered. Sure 2.2 mil is a sexy number, BUT if the average ticket price is lower than a team that draws 1.8 mil then whose really doing better? So, that being said lets look at what Steve Schott CAN do.
Things Schott CAN do and has done:
1) Own a team that wins 5 consecutive years (4 in playoffs)
2) Challenge his employees to strive to get younger, cheaper and remain a winner every year.
3) Give the FANS every opportunity to show up. Actions speak louder... (2 dollar tickets, great promotions)
4) Turn a profit ever year and WIN with a low payroll. (29 other really rich smart owners have not figured out how to this *5 YEARS* in a row! But SCHOTT has!)
THINGS SCHOTT CAN'T DO
1) Force 3 million fans to show up.
2) Force the an FANS to watch the games as often as they watch the Giants games
You can't get mad at a man for things he cannot change.
| By kevink on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:28 pm:|
"THINGS SCHOTT CAN'T DO
1) Force 3 million fans to show up."
No, but he certainly has a way of doing things to gaurantee that a number of fans do NOT show up!
"2) Force the an FANS to watch the games as often as they watch the Giants games"
This would change quickly if Schott opened up his wallet and got us enough talent to win a world series with this group. I'm not saying we need Yankee money but at least not be last in the league in payroll.
| By mutiny on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:31 pm:|
i was under the impression that revenue from actual ticket sales is not really where the team makes its money. rather, concession sales and tv contracts are much more significant.
not to mention the fact that nobody wants to talk about: schott wins because of the big 3. plain and simple. if it was not for the big three, we would not be in the playoffs these last couple of years. and while drafting the big three was, in part, beane's skill, it also has a lot to do with luck, in my opinion.
so, i think this team has won DESPITE steve schott, not because of him.
| By oakland_j on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:50 pm:|
Jesse, since you want to be fair and take everything in to account. The A's have above league average concession prices to offset their below average ticket prices. This works out great for Schott since he collects all the profits made from concessions along with parking through his 'other business' which I believe does not officially count towards the "A's revenue." Also, don't forget the A's pay next to nothing in rent.
| By eyleenn on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:02 pm:|
You're exactly right, oakland j.
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:04 pm:|
There was no big 3 in 99 or 2000. The A's found a way! Finding guys like Heredia and Omar the OUt maker and Appier. Say what you want about those guys, but they got us as far as the big 3 ever have.
And, there is NO such thing as luck Mutiny. The A's knew what they wanted, the drafted what they wanted, just like everyone else does. Neither one of the big 3 were the FIRST pick in the draft. Plenty of teams had a chance to pick Hudson and Zito. But the Other teams didnt close the deal. The A's did!
The A's were prepared to take a certain type of player, and as result they picked many pitchers. Enough of them panned out to make the BIG 3. THats not luck, Blanton and Harden are not LUCK. The picks the A's make in the future will not be luck.
You can open your wallet to do what, Kevin? Win 90 games every year, go to the play offs every year. The are no garuntees in spending, ask the Rangers!
So the A's win, they just don't have name players while their doing it. Is that really the problem? is that why they don't watch, really?
The A's are one of the best run organizations in sports. Its a system of making the most out of what ya got! And, I'm proud to be A's Fan.
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:11 pm:|
You are correct Oakland_J I totally forgot about the rent! But, its only fair given their stadium situation.
| By oaktownfan on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:16 pm:|
99-Huddy went 11-2 before the injury so part of the Big 3 helped the A's make a run at the playoff.
2000-Huddy went 20-6, Zito went 7-4, Mulder went 9-10 before he got injuried and all helped the A's big time to make the playoffs.
A baseball owners' first goal for the fans, players on team, and himself isn't about making money, it's about winning and if you have a chance to win and considering how the A's get so close, you would think any owner would pony up a little bit to sign a player who Beane thinks will help this team win a championship. Yet each year Schott refuses to to pay and loses key player after key player because he would rather make a profit than lose money while having more of a chance to win a title.
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:16 pm:|
Besides, who said the Oakland A's have below average ticket prices?
And the two dollar promotion is not for less than 15K seats each time for the third deck.
Until this year, the A's were playing rent free and Schott owns the food and parking concessionaire.
What Schott should do is try to get the season ticket base back to what it was when they bought the team in 1995. Their season ticket base dropped from 15K plus to less the 5K. They continue to cater to the walk up crowd and to the event oriented casual fans, who only come to games when it's nice and warm or when the team is winning. Every team has to promote and bring in the event, fireworks, two dollar night fans, but those are not the ones who keep coming year after year, unconditionally.
The season ticket holders come to the yard rain or shine, win or lose. Why did the A's season ticket holders turned their backs on Schott and why does he only have the instant gratification type of fan?
Because every onwer has the fans they deserve!
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 06:27 pm:|
1 year in the playoffs is a fluke, 2 years a trend, 4 years, you know what your doing!
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:03 pm:|
Schott bought this team for half the market value, with the best farm system in the majors.
And he signed a 10 year lease in order to pay so little for the team.
The ink wasn't even dry on the lease when he broke it via a 48 million lawsuit.
He got the team with the Dominican Academy fully loaded with talent and with a scouting department no other team in the majors would even dream of having...i.e. Ricciardi, Fuson and Billy Beane among others who are now gone.
So Schott didn't have to tap into the free agent market to buy a winner. The farm had from Jason Giambi to Miguel Tejada...(btw after Tejada and Ramon are gone the last class of the Dominican Academy will have graduated and gone).
Billy Beane drafted the college pitchers and was able to make excellent trades because he had the talent to trade and kept the revolving door open with draft picks when the free agents left.
The fans who stood by and watched the Rickey, the Tejada and Giambi develop are not the same type of fans who only care about a post season appearance. They invest time and make an emotional bonding with the players and the team and if an ownership doesn't show any respect for how the fans feel about losing their favorite players, they end up with a very shallow and temporary fanbase. They HAVE to keep winning or the fans will not show up because there is nothing there but strangers who just come and go.
I'm proud to be an A's fan because of their history and legendary players, in spite of the current custodian Schott, who shows very little respect for me as a baseball fan.
| By kevink on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:16 pm:|
Yes Jesse, Beane knows what he's doing. Schott, on the other hand, I beg to differ.
Mutiny said it right- the A's win (and draw well) DESPITE Steve Schott.
And like I said about payroll, not saying we need to triple it. The Texas analogy was a bad one, because we have Beane as the GM not Tom Hicks, so of course the A's aren't going to make the same stupid mistakes Texas did with more money. But a little more offense last year could have been the difference in beating Boston in the playoffs. However, that would have required cheap schott to do something helpful, which doesn't happen.
| By yc2578 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:34 pm:|
jesse I'm sorry but you are way off on this one. Schott has been LUCKY to have a GM like Beane to make key trades and low cost signings tha thave paid off and have the scouts and coaches the A's have had to help develop their great pitching. Schott himself has very, very little to do with the A's success.
Sure Schott can't spend $100 million on the payroll or anything like that but if really wanted to do he could spend $70-75 million which would be enough for this team to stay together and even fill a weakness or two with other free agents but he chooses not to because he wants to turn a profit. That's the choice he's made.
The A's draw fine and obvioulsy you've sucked in by Selig'g propaganda. Seriously when did drawing 2.2 million fans become a poor attendance figure? Your out of your mind if you think the A's NEED to draw 3 million and only five teams drew that much last year. Its amazing how much the A's draw when they rely so much on walk up attendance, probably more than any other team in baseball because Schott doesn't cater to season ticket holders so really he's primarily responsible for the A's so called lack of attendance.
I'm proud to be an A's fan too and I defend them probably more than anyone else on this board. I always look at things optimistically because I know how bad things can be and I feel this team always deserves the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise. But my loyalty to this team has absolutley nothing to do with Steve Schott.
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:40 pm:|
Kevin, its hard to improve on winning the division 3 out of 4 years. Why spend more money, when you are already winning. There is no garuntee, that a player will remain healthy, its not a good idea to risk a lot of money, when you are already winning and making money. I'm not saying that you are but, you could argue that more money may win the world series, but you would be wrong. Ask the Yankees, the Red Sox, it could all be lost on injuries, or some young team with stud pitchers who get hot at the right time(Marlins). If you loose, then what?
Also, who is out there that can make the A's better than a division champ and increase our attendance? I would like to know! Who should the A's sign? Can you tell me, who makes the fans show up? Tejada? Foulke? They didnt last year!
TELL ME WHO?
| By yc2578 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:52 pm:|
Hey no one says Schott needs to spend $100 million but plain and simple he could spend more than he does. How many playoff series has Schott's penny pinching won the A's?
Fans show up because the A's win, its not because of one single player. Again attendance is fine and quit buying into Selig's propaganda.
WHEN DID 2.2 MILLION FANS BECOME A BAD THING?
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 07:56 pm:|
Anyways, Beane signed a player with a shattered leg for 10 mil a year. He also signed a player with bad knees and a club foot for several mil. What makes you think loosening the reigns would would solve anything. You could argue that if Billy Beane didnt have the directive from Schott to keep looking for the best available at a reasonable price, Beane would have a much lower batting average. It's a lot like Guillen with a broken hand, his swing was more compact, he had a better chance to hit the ball, fewer mistakes. Beane has a better chance to look good if he can pick solid role players and give the a chance to play more, for a few mil. I would argue that if you want to give Schott credit for the things that are wrong, how can you not give Schott credit for whats right?
| By yc2578 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:00 pm:|
And I could argue Schott is the world's greatest sex machine.
Anyways most believe the Dye signing was mainly a p.r. move to say "hey we spend money" after losing Burger Boy. Mecir obviously hasn't earned the money he's paid but the A's can afford a player who makes $2-3 million without any real problems.
| By jesse on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:03 pm:|
Can someone tell me how to increase season ticket sales?
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:08 pm:|
In the last three years, Schott closed the wallet and refused to spend that extra money on a player who would strengthen the bench for the playoffs. One year Beane tried to get Velarde back and on another year he tried to fill in a couple of others for the final stretch each year and he was turned down. It doens't have to be a big name but the right guy for the bench that makes a difference in the playoffs.
and it is not WHO but HOW to bring in the fans...
the burden of bringing customers to your business place is on ownership and not on some kind of duty from the paying customer.
How you make fans show up? By making a true commitment to the fans and to the community where they play. It is certainly not badmouthing the city and its residents and saying the A's have no future in Oakland. Loyalty is a two way street and Schott doesn't know the meaning of the word.
The A's outdrew the Giants 17 seasons to 10 until PacBell was built. The A's have a fantastic fanbase and they show it year after year and only those who don't want to see it can say the contrary.
| By yc2578 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 08:11 pm:|
Re-signing Burger Boy would have done it, which was the main reason I wanted to sign him back in 2001 because it would have shown a real commitment to winning by Schott. Hindsight being what it is not signing Burger Boy for the amount of money it would have taken was probably for the best but again its about the perception of not keeping your stars. Same thing with re-signing Tejada now. We'll see if they can win without him like they have without Burger Boy but if the don't then the shit will hit the fan and you'll see fans just stop caring.
How about actually treating season ticket holders with respect? How about actually showing a real commitment to Oakland? The lack of of season ticket sales is on Schott's hands whether you want to believe it or not.
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:15 pm:|
Season ticket holders are those fans who just cost the front office a few cents stamp each year when they send their renewal notice. Those fans have made the unconditional commitment to the team, regardless of the win or loss record or to how bad or good the traffic jams or rain they will face to get to the game.
During the Haas ownership, there were regular chalk talk meetings with s.t. holders once at EVERY homestand. These were special Q&A sessions with the GM and field manager and there were always some player present too.
The s.t. holders didn't have to wait to find out who was telling the truth about the team because they got it directly from the A's and not from some mediot columnist that has his own agenda or is too lazy to do their homework. Not that Alderson or TLR always told us the truth, but we at least had a chance to question them and to give them our thoughts about the team.
I remember when TLR used to say that he didn't mind facing some tough questions from us because he knew we were part of the A's baseball family and we had the right to give our feedback since we were there supporting the team through the good and the bad. Alderson was also always present and he was also very good at taking the heat from the fans because he also felt we were part of the success of the team.
This is what I call giving respect to the fans who support this team through the good and the bad and this is what makes you feel good about being a s.t. holder. It's not about the money or about winning because we all know that baseball is cyclical and winning is not something that happens so easily as people might think no matter how much is invested on the team.
| By kevink on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:25 pm:|
Jesse, under that premise, it sounds like you think the A's are BETTER off with a lower payroll. Maybe we should cut payroll more and win the whole thing?
Seriously, Beane has worked magic under budget contraints tougher than just about every other team out there. But like yc said, increase the payroll to $70M and you've got a team that can score 5 runs and maybe win a game 5. Without the increase we clearly can be competitive but it becomes VERY difficult to get to the next level.
And since when is 2.2 million fans "not drawing"?
I don't think the attendence excuse Schott sometimes likes to come up with is a very valid one.... I will say however that the attendence is not as good as it could and likely even should be with the success this team has had. I live in Missouri, but I would go to as many games as possible if I could.. as I'm sure most of you do. I still wonder how much of the attendence is a direct result of the cheaper Wednesday tickets.
| By chavvy03 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:54 pm:|
How far is it from Riverside to Oakland? I'm moving from Arizona to Riverside in a month....so hopefully I'm a little closer so that I can make it up to some games.
| By yc2578 on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:58 pm:|
Hey if Schott went to $60 million payroll that might be enough to let them re-sign Tejada at about $8-9 million/year and I'm sure he would take that even though he could probably get $10 million+/year from someone like the Dodgers. But Schott won't even be that generous as at this point they'll just barely have enough to keep Foulke but that'll be it. Hell even if that wasn't enough to sign Tejada you'd still be able to add a key player or two to maybe even make up for the loss of Tejada but again Schott won't do it.
| By zito75 on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 12:17 am:|
Just to address what was said earlier, I believe there was a "who said the A's have below-average ticket prices?" in there. I have been to 16 MLB parks besides Oakland: Boston, NY (AL & NL), Chicago (AL & NL), Baltimore, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Arizona, Seattle, Detroit, Toronto, Milwaukee, Texas, and Colorado. The A's have the lowest prices of all, San Diego was the only place that was even close to Oakland, and I'm sure prices will go up for their new park. If I recall the A's best seats were $27, which would barely get you into the bleachers in Boston.
Also, while the A's concession prices are high, anyone who has been to Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium knows that they would rather let you in the park with a nightstick than with any food from outside. The A's will let you bring in dinner and drinks, so long as there's no alcohol.
Every business has its flaws and I'm not going to sit here and say that they are perfect, but when I was attending Berkeley the A's offered an inexpensive and exciting product, and I was able to see more than half of the home games for very little money. I have left the Bay Area but hope that the A's remain both competitive and in Oakland for a long time to come. I am grateful to the organization, including the "devil" himself - Steve Schott - for the good value that they offered me.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 02:48 am:|
A's best seats were $27, which would barely get you into the bleachers in Boston.
This is not correct.
The prices will be higher this year, but here were the prices for 2003
Plaza Club - $32
MVP Infield - $30
Field Level - $24
Plaza Infield - $22
Plaza Outfield - $16
Upper Reserve - $8
Bleachers - $8
I don't have the website which compares ticket prices, but I do know several teams are discounting tickets. Attendance was down in all of the ballparks, inclusive the new ballparks.
| By oakland_j on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 03:20 am:|
Boston - 42.34
NY Yankees - 24.86
Chi. Cubs - 24.21
Seattle - 23.92
NY Mets - 23.50
St. Louis - 22.91
Cleveland - 21.82
San Francisco - 21.63
Houston - 20.78
Detroit - 20.43
Pittsburgh - 19.53
Baltimore - 18.23
Chi. Sox - 17.82
Cincinati - 17.53
Atlanta - 17.51
Philadelphia - 17.24
Toronto - 16.88
Milwaukee - 16.86
Los Angeles - 16.38
San Diego - 16.23
Texas - 15.98
Anaheim - 15.97
Oakland - 15.65
Colorado - 15.21
Arizona - 14.60
Tampa Bay - 14.49
Minnesota - 14.40
Florida - 12.78
Kansas City - 12.13
Montreal - 9.00
| By zito75 on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 07:27 am:|
OK, well if you want to split hairs, split hairs. I finished school in December 2002, so go find the prices for 2 years ago and then tell me I'm not correct. The point was that the A's are a good value, and I think Oakland J showed that they are.
You are correct. While I have encountered deals on tickets in other ballparks, nothing has ever come close to Oakland. There are so many different ways to go to A's games for 4 bucks or less.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:12 am:|
First, I never said the A's are not a good value.
Secondly my point and issue is that the A's cater to the casual walk-up crowd and that hurts them in the long run, or at least it makes it easy to make it look like it hurts them.
I'm not splitting hairs and I'm not just trashing ownership here, I'm saying they are not maximizing their potential for attendance. Some of you guys are so apologetic of ownership that you go on the defensive as if you were responsible for marketting and could be fired. Sheesh....
I've been to countless ballparks as part of committee which researched how to promote the teams, the group and s.t. sales.
All ballparks have discounted tickets, but most ballparks have better deals for people who buy multiple games in advance. The A's don't do that and thus do not encourage s.t. sales.
The Twins have a number of tickets to EVERY game, not only speacial days that they sell for $2. Even the Yankees have $6 tickets to many games.
And what people don't realiaze is that most teams who cater to s.t. holders have a discount of over 3 or 5 dollars if you buy the same tickets in a small package as advance purchase. The A's only discount $1/ticket and the parking in advance.
The NY Yankees sell game day tickets up to $6 more expensive than if you purchase in advance.
The bleachers bought in advance in NY are $8 just like the A's but they charge $10 at game day.
Of course at Fenway the prices are inflated due to the small capacity of their ballpark. But they also give huge discounts to s.t. holders. They also have group discount for the fans who are come from all of New England by bus. Why do you think so many prepies BoSox fans are so loyal to their team. They go to college and get field trips right to their seats at great discounts.
The Pirates this year will have 10K tickets to every game at $6/ The Twins will do the same for $2 for EVERY game.
Btw, I don't whine for myself. I've bought full price full s.t. for the last 23 years, in Novwember! My criticism is constructive and I'm not asking for freebies for myself. I want the A's to make lots of money and invest on the team.
yeah all through college I sat in the bleachers for 4 bucks, and didnt have to pay for parking if one did not mind missing the first inning. they didnt care if you brought food. Of course we sucked back then, but you take what you can get right... man I miss those days. Live in FL now. the only time I get to see the A's is when they play the white sox, b'cuase we have a chicogo affiliate here. I would gladly pony up more than 4 bucks these days.
I sat in the bleachers at Fenway four seasons ago at a sold-out interleague game on a July, Tuesday night against Montreal (!) and paid $90 for two tix to a scalper on Lansdowne (who was nervously looking over his shoulder the whole time). The face value was $14. I conformed this at the ticket window as well.
| By richochet on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 01:41 pm:|
"Attendance was down in all of the ballparks, inclusive the new ballparks. "
This is not correct. As I've stated before, I'm a fan of both teams in the bay area and statements such as this are not only self-serving but also misleading. The Giants attendance was up in 2003 vs 2002 - 3.264M vs 3.253M. Also, to state that the A's exceeded the Giants in attendance before Pac Bell is also misleading. Have you ever been to Candlestick?? It was a major deterrent to fans coming out. The A's did not exceed the Giants in those years by nearly 50% as is the case in reverse today. Just to reiterate, I'm a fan of both teams, so I like to look at the facts objectively rather in a misleading way.
| By eyleenn on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 01:41 pm:|
This past season there was a $3 discount on field level season tix. $21 instead of $24.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 01:55 pm:|
Below please find the ballparkwatch attendance article:
The attendance of some of the ballparks did not reflect the empty seats since what's reported are the sold tickets. But the overall attendance of games was down for the year.
Have you ever been to Candlestick??
To state that as a rebutt for saying the A's didn't outdraw the Giants 17 to 10 seasons. The numbers are there to see
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 01:58 pm:|
...and btw, when the Giants had winning seasons and drew over 2.5 at the stick, it was still cold and windy right? so that excuse is old and tired.
| By richochet on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 02:00 pm:|
You said attendance was down in "all ballparks" - this is simply not true and I called you on it.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 02:06 pm:|
the link before didn't work...
yes, to be exact there 17 teams who had drops on their paid attendance and there was an article so it was not in all the parks...
but I called you on the A's vs Giants attendance...
the giants btw had plenty of empty seats all year even when they called it a sell out.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 02:17 pm:|
2003 baseball attendance flat
Sept. 29, 2003 04:00 PM
NEW YORK - Baseball attendance picked up in the second half of the season, with the final average of 28,055 down just slightly from last year.
With terrible weather in the northern part of the country during early part of the season, the average had been down 7 percent on April 20 and 5 percent at the end of May.
The commissioner's office, in announcing the final, unofficial, figures on Monday, said the poor first half also was partly to "the weak economy, the war in Iraq and the SARS scare that particularly struck Toronto."
This year's final average was down 0.4 percent from last year's 28,168 and was the lowest since 1996. The average stabilized after falling from 30,099 in 2000 to 30,012 in 2001 and then dropping 6.1 percent last year.
All 30 teams reached 1 million in home attendance in the same year for the first time, with the New York Yankees (3,465,640), Anaheim (3,061,094), Chicago Cubs (2,962,630) and Boston (2,724,165) setting home attendance records.
Regular-season games broadcast on FOX averaged a 3.4 rating, up 6 percent from last year's 3.2.
"The fact that Major League Baseball attendance has rebounded so dramatically and the FOX national ratings have increased in a difficult television ratings environment is a true testament to our fans and the continuing popularity of our game," commissioner Bud Selig said. "We believe Major League Baseball is in a very positive position as we enter a compelling postseason with eight very exciting clubs."