Small Crowds Highlight Astros' Decline

Small Crowds Highlight Astros' Decline

There were acres of empty seats at Minute Maid Park again Thursday night, and it’s looking more and more like it will be a long, lonely summer at the yard.

They still pump in the noise and crank up the music, but the fake stuff is a far cry from a mere four years ago when the Astros pretty much owned this city. Seems like forever, doesn’t it?

Attendance has declined four straight years and promises to go down again this year. On Thursday night, the announced crowd of 20,045 was the second-smallest in the history of Minute Maid Park.

That was only slightly below the 20,175 announced for Monday’s game against the Cubs. So in the first homestand of a new season, the Astros have drawn two of their three smallest crowds in the ballpark’s 11-plus seasons.

Once upon a time, Minute Maid Park was rocking with excitement. Drayton McLane will tell you the decline is about the economy, and there’s surely some truth to that. On the other hand, he knows better.

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