BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA) — Pitchers and catchers reported to MLB Spring Training today and that means the 2020 season is right around the corner.
That surely means Pirates fans are excited for this upcoming season, right?
Well, according to a report from ESPN’s David Schoenfield, Pirates fans are feeling pretty unenthusiastic about being taken out to the ballgame this year.
“No fan base is more disillusioned with its ownership than Pirates fans,” his story read. “Attendance has plummeted by a million since 2015. I doubt it will increase in 2020.”
Schoenfield’s attendance numbers may sound like hyperbole, but they are not.
According to Baseball-Reference, when the Pirates were in the midst of making three appearances in the Wild Card, their attendance topped out in 2015 at 2,498,596, an average of 30,847 per game.
That has since fallen to 1,491,439 in 2019, an average of 18,413.
Fans understandably do not feel optimistic going into this year as several roster changes have been made, including trading outfielder Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks last month.
However, that lack of optimism doesn’t extend to the clubhouse.
New manager Derek Shelton is embracing the challenge of taking over for Clint Hurdle.
New general manager Ben Cherington has also expressed excitement over getting started with the Pirates saying, “I feel very confident in level of resources available…towards lead of industry. I feel equally as good about the personal and emotional commitment Bob and Travis have to this team and this city.”
The Pirates kick off their Grapefruit League play on February 22 against the Minnesota Twins.