(BaseballSTL) -- When the St. Louis Cardinals are in town there is no doubt that the players expect a sold-out to near sold out crowd for every game. No matter how good or how bad they are doing, Cardinals Nation never fails to pack Busch Stadium. With the Cardinals in Miami taking on the Marlins, you can not help but wonder if the Cardinals players are asking; where are all the Marlin fans?
In the offseason, Marlins ownership went out and spent nearly $200 million dollars on three players. They picked up one of the top shortstops in the league in Jose Reyes, a dominate closer in Heath Bell, and a near ace starting pitcher in Mark Buehrle. Then they opened the brand new, $634 million dollar Marlins Park, complete with a retractable roof and some weird marlin and flamingo sculpture in left-center that moves every time a marlin goes deep.
This all sounds like something Marlin fans can get excited about, considering the team has not been to the playoffs since 2003. Yet, the Marlins are struggling to fill the stands, made obvious by all the empty seat during the current Marlins-Cardinals series. To really understand how much baseball is struggling in Miami, let's look at the difference in attendance between the Cards and the Fish.
Busch Stadium will hold 43,975 fans not including standing room. According to ESPN.com, this season the Cardinals have already welcomed 1,387,683 and are averaging 42,051 fans a game. That means the Cardinals, on average, are filling Busch Stadium to a 95.6 percent capacity.
Marlin Park, without standing room, holds 36,742. The Marlins, through Tuesday, have had 1,126,823 fans come to the ballpark. They are averaging only 28,140 fan a game. Marlin Park is only 75.2 percent filled.
Those are crazy numbers for a new ballpark. In 2006 when Busch Stadium opened, the Cardinals had over 3 million fans come through the turnstiles and were averaging 42,588 fans a game. Which mean Busch was, on average, 90 percent filled.
Maybe it is because the Marlins are not doing so well in the standings. Currently the Marlins are 34-40 and sit last in their division, nine games behind the Washington Nationals. But that's shouldn't be an issue.
Remember the 2008 Cardinals? They had just come off a year where they placed third in the Central finishing seven games behind the Cubs. In 2008, things weren't any better. They finished fourth, 11.5 games behind the Cubs and yet the Cardinals still finished the season with over 3 million fans entering the park and averaging 42,353 a game.
To top it all off, when the Marlins were last in the playoffs in 2003 they played in Sun Life Stadium and it held 35,531 fans. They averaged 16,290 a game. That team went on to win the World Series.
Marlins' ownership seems to be throwing out the right type of bait to reel in the fans but it seems like fans just are not biting; excuse the puns. One would think with a new stadium and new players fans would be packing Marlins Park. So while the Cardinals players may be wondering where the Marlin fans are, they have also got to be thinking how great it is to play in baseball heaven.