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Cubs face another season of declining attendance

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09:32 AM ET 09.08 | In 2009, Tribune Co. Cubs critics got their wish. The team was sold to a family-based ownership group of committed Cub fans -- Tom Ricketts and his siblings. They promptly hired some of the best minds in the business, who embarked on a thorough overhaul of the old Cub Way. And in Year 2 of a scorched-earth rebuild, fans have stopped flocking to Wrigley Field like indiscriminate lemmings. The Cubs are wrapping up their fourth straight season of declining attendance, with the current homestand featuring some of the smallest crowds of the 21st century. Home attendance is down more than 2,800 per game from last season, when a string of seven years of 3 million-plus totals ended amid a 101-loss, last-place showing. The forecast isn't quite as bleak this year. With 21 games remaining, just seven at home, the Cubs are fives games better than they were at this point last season. But the blind hope that has been a franchise touchstone for decades is no longer enough to fill Wrigley Field. Only 27,763 fans were on hand Aug. 30 for Ryne Sandberg's return to the ballpark where he performed with Hall of Fame distinction. Monday's Labor Day turnout was 26,978. Tuesday's crowd was announced as 30,024, but the in-house figure was probably about two-thirds of that.

Chicago Sun Times

Wrigley Field, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Wrigley Field, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
September 8, 2013  09:33 AM ET

Say it ain't so.

September 8, 2013  09:39 AM ET

Coming down the finish line for those last wild card spots and the stories are about the Marlins and Cubs. Reality check aisle three.

September 8, 2013  01:28 PM ET

They''ll still net well over 2 million next year, while losing another 90 plus.

September 8, 2013  02:55 PM ET

Guess you've got to live there, but I've never understood why they've drawn as well as they have over the years.

September 8, 2013  04:09 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

They''ll still net well over 2 million next year, while losing another 90 plus.

Reinsdorf's wet dream this year.

September 8, 2013  05:16 PM ET

Just lower the beer prices.

September 8, 2013  05:19 PM ET

Looks like Wrigley will be torn down within the next five years.

September 8, 2013  07:23 PM ET

You figuring it out, Cubby fans? Take money out of the owners' pockets and your team might improve. From an owner's standpoint, why would you shell out money for an actual baseball team when every night your stadium is filled with people willing to watch a product that you've invested pennies in?

September 8, 2013  07:51 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Guess you've got to live there, but I've never understood why they've drawn as well as they have over the years.

There are a lot of fans coming this year to root for the visiting team. Lots of locals just go for the beer garden atmosphere and to sing along with take me out to the ballgame. I'm surprised Cubbie fans haven't started wearing grocery bags over their heads. I guess they just don't care how crappy their team is.

September 8, 2013  08:11 PM ET

A couple years ago didn't the Cubs get that guy from Boston for the big bucks, to take the team to baseball utopia??????? Were the Cubs that bad???

September 8, 2013  08:30 PM ET

"Best minds in the business?" LMAO! Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer? LOL LOL LOL

The Boy Blunder nearly destroyed the Red Sox. It took a miracle bail-out by the Dodgers to get the Sox out of the idiot contracts Epstein inked.

Two seasons in it is obvious the guys Epstein planned to build around, Castro and Rizzo are, at best mediocre talent. Epstein is a lousy talent evaluator, a bad negotiator and not the guy who created the team that won two World Series in Boston. He does however look good in a gorilla suit.

September 8, 2013  10:16 PM ET

Yeah, Theo was lucky enough to take the Red Sox just a small step up to win a World Series. His big skill is more along the lines of marketing his teams and himself. That's why the Cubbies are focusing on a jumbo-tron, who sings Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and building the (Heartbreak) hotel while trading away all of their talent for prospects. What a great move it was signing Edwin Jackson to a $52 million 4 year contract!

September 9, 2013  02:08 AM ET

Eptein seems to have attended Loria's School o ML management. Sell off most of talent for cash, or some minor league talent while trying to build team around two underperforming veterans. sounds like fans are tired of seeing cubs acquire players only to sell them off two-three years later. Also I would not be surprise if Dale Sveum does not come back next year, unless he has time left on his contract.

September 9, 2013  07:16 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

"Best minds in the business?" LMAO! Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer? LOL LOL LOLThe Boy Blunder nearly destroyed the Red Sox. It took a miracle bail-out by the Dodgers to get the Sox out of the idiot contracts Epstein inked. Two seasons in it is obvious the guys Epstein planned to build around, Castro and Rizzo are, at best mediocre talent. Epstein is a lousy talent evaluator, a bad negotiator and not the guy who created the team that won two World Series in Boston. He does however look good in a gorilla suit.

He sucked at signing free agents, but Theo's biggest strength in Boston was developing the farm system, which is in great shape thanks to him. Cub fans need to give him time, and keep him away from free agency signings.

September 9, 2013  10:31 AM ET

of course they are, no playoffs since 2008, no World Series since 1908...it really makes me wonder what could have been in 2003 though, still at least Epstein knows what he's doing more or less. I wonder, I am not one but: what is it REALLY like being a Cubs fan?

September 9, 2013  10:42 AM ET

I agree with jnorman41. All great teams have a terrific farm system. The previous management of the Cubs all but depleted the farm system and the Cubs have, and currently are, suffering because of it. Those HUGE contracts for "Superstar" players have hurt the Cubs. I have faith that the Cubs are on the rebound and better days are ahead. For all those naysayers out there, if the Cubs don't improve then what has changed? As I have said for 40 years now, "Wait 'til next year!"

 
September 9, 2013  04:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

I agree with jnorman41. All great teams have a terrific farm system. The previous management of the Cubs all but depleted the farm system and the Cubs have, and currently are, suffering because of it. Those HUGE contracts for "Superstar" players have hurt the Cubs. I have faith that the Cubs are on the rebound and better days are ahead. For all those naysayers out there, if the Cubs don't improve then what has changed? As I have said for 40 years now, "Wait 'til next year!"

"Wait 'til next year!"

Wait 'til next century is what you really mean.

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