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Cubs vs. Cardinals Preview, Saturday 9/25, 12:05 CT: More On Attendance

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Just what is Mike Quade thinking here?
Just what is Mike Quade thinking here?

Through yesterday's game, the Cubs season home attendance total was 2,985,600, meaning they will pass the three million mark today. It will mark the seventh straight year the Cubs have drawn three million plus, and it would have been eight if not for the final Friday of the season being rained out in 2003.

That makes the average attendance for 79 dates so far 37,792 (91.9% of capacity), which ranks eighth in the major leagues, just ahead of the Red Sox at 37,614 and the Giants at 37,288.

However, that is a significant drop from last season, when the Cubs averaged 39,610, or 96.3% of capacity, down about 4.6% per game.

What's even more significant, though, is the decline in late-season ticket sales and actual game attendance. The figures above represent tickets sold, which in the Cubs' case is a large number of season tickets (probably around 27,000) and tickets purchased ahead of time. First, looking at the last two homestands -- with the Cubs far out of contention and many schools back in session -- the average attendance for the 13 dates so far in those two homestands is 34,438. Average attendance for a comparable 13 dates in late August and early and mid September in 2009 was 39,050 (series vs. the Mets, Astros, Reds and Brewers -- I excluded the September 3 makeup game vs. the White Sox because those tickets were actually sold for a game scheduled for June 16). That's down 11.8% -- and what's down even more is the number of butts actually in the seats. Only the Cubs have the precise turnstile count, but I estimate that approximately two-thirds of ticket holders, on average, actually showed up for the games in the last two homestands. Some games recently, like the weekend dates vs. the Mets, had few no-shows; others, like the games against the Pirates and Astros, were quite empty, perhaps only half the tickets-sold count. Yesterday's game against the Cardinals was probably the smallest in-the-park count for a Cubs/Cardinals game since the mid-1990's.

Those were tickets bought at fairly high prices and not used at all. There's a risk that may turn into many thousands of unsold seats in 2011, unless: a) the team improves and b) prices are lowered at least a little.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
vs. Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter
2-2 W-L 15-8
5.02 ERA 3.28
21 SO 174
22 BB 57
3 HR 21
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Casey Coleman 2-2 10 6 0 0 0 0 43.0 45 24 24 3 22 21 5.02 1.56

2010 - Chris Carpenter 15-8 33 33 0 0 0 0 222.0 203 93 81 21 57 174 3.28 1.17

The Cubs hit Chris Carpenter pretty well 10 days ago in St. Louis, including a home run from Tyler Colvin. Colvin, obviously, won't be playing today but hopefully, the rest of the Cubs can hit Carpenter the way they did that night (doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Micah Hoffpaiur included).

Casey Coleman has now put together six decent starts with an ERA of 4.15 in 34.2 innings. There are still far too many walks (17); if he can have better control he'd have a shot at the #5 starter role next year. This will be his first start against the Cardinals but he did throw two scoreless innings of relief against them on August 13 in St. Louis.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Midwest. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 12 noon CDT, and the overflows will post at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.