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Attendance at Dodger Stadium continues to plunge

May 13, 2011 |  6:44 am

Ih28s3kf The Dodgers are coming! The Dodgers are coming!

Are you?

Well, you haven’t been, at least not in robust Dodgers-esque numbers. The Dodgers return home Friday, but no one is expecting a giddy sellout to await them.

Whether a boycott against the McCourts, fear of safety or simply uninspired with the team after last season’s sub-.500 effort, attendance is plummeting at Dodger Stadium.

Empty seats are everywhere, at every level. Even field level seats seem only dotted with fans. Some entire sections routinely sit empty.

Baseball’s 30 teams are down 635 fans per game thus far into the season (through Wednesday) or 2%, but the Dodgers are their big drag.

Through their first 18 home dates, Dodgers are down 7,268 fans per game, compared to last year -- the biggest drop in baseball.

And remember, baseball announces tickets sold, not actual attendance. It does not release no-show numbers, but they are significant at Dodger Stadium. Several games, the old ballpark hasn’t even looked half full.

Tickets sold for the Dodgers currently are down 16.5% over last season. And it’s noticeable.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly admits it bothers him to look up and see a half-empty Dodger Stadium.

"A little bit," he said. "I mean, you’d like to see the place full. Just for the guys’ standpoint.

"You just get kind of spoiled here, seeing the place full. From the guys’ standpoint, when you start playing really hard and guys are busting it, you want people to see it. I think the way we remedy that is to win."

The Dodgers are 9-9 at home this season, but Mattingly doesn’t think the smaller crowds have had an impact on the team’s play.

"I don’t think so, but it’s nice when there’s an energy," he said. "I don’t think we’re losing anything because of it. I want people to see us play, to see what these guys can do."

Normally, not a problem. The Dodgers traditionally are one of the top two or three teams in MLB attendance. Currently, they rank eighth with an average of 36,672 tickets sold per game. For the first time, they are on track to trail the Angels in attendance.

The McCourts once immodestly set a goal of 4 million in season attendance. This season, the Dodgers are not on pace to reach 3 million.

Most who leave comments here, say they’re not coming out as a protest to the McCourts’ ownership. Some -- many -- promise not to return until there is a new owner.

The loss of 7,268 fans per game has to hurt the McCourts financially. That’s a lot of parking not paid for, a lot of hot dogs left unsold, a lot of souvenirs left for sale.

And an embarrassing number of empty seats.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodger Stadium. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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