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the_intermingling_of_non-believers_at_turner_1 | August | 2009 Articles

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The Intermingling of Non-Believers at Turner

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Any baseball game for any team is certainly going to see a smattering of fans garnering the away team's jerseys and colors; it is inevitable.  The proportion of visiting fans (so to speak) drastatically changes, however, from stadium to stadium and from team to team.  When the Red Sox play in Camden Yard, it might as well be another home game for the Boston club.  The combination of the awfulness that is the Orioles and the popularity of the Sox makes this outcome seem fairly obvious.  The same goes the other way.  Even with their team seemingly disappointing every year, Wrigley Field is nearly 99% Cub fans when the Marlins come to town.

For the past several years, nearly all the Braves games I attend in Atlanta have had a large proportion of away team fans, especially when rival NL East teams or other Northern teams are there to play.  Given the implications discussed above, I always assumed it was entirely due to the South's ambivalence towards any sport outside of Football (the American variety!) and NASCAR.  This past weekend, after taking in two of the three Phillies games, I have come to believe otherwise.

After conversations partaken with Phillies fans, I was shocked to discover many of them traveled from Philadelphia itself to watch their beloved team[1].  Their reasons weren't necessarily because of their die-hard nature, but, rather, the bargain received when compared to watching them in Citizen Bank Park.  Many of them found that driving to Atlanta and buying Turner field tickets for all of their friends and family was cheaper than sticking around in Philadelphia and purchasing similar tickets.  For example, the sames seats to this past Phillies vs. Braves series in Atlanta are one third to one fourth the price of the same series in Philadelphia.

Obviously, these fans are taking advantage of some economies of scale; due to their large party and desire to sit somewhere other than the upper deck bleachers, Atlanta, relatively cheap compared to any Northeastern city (even Philly), and its baseball all come at a very affordable price.  In the past, when I would attend similar Red Sox games as a lone Braves fan amongst a sea of Bostonians, I never bothered speaking to that brethren (likely because of their pugnacious tendencies[2]), but now regret that I haven't.  This presents multiple issues when judging (1) the numbers/fervor/budget of Braves fans and (2) determining appropriate ticket prices for games at the Ted.  I won't go into detail on these points, but find it is important enough to point out when fellow Mets or Angels fans bash our team for their lackluster fan base.

Regardless, does an uninspired baseball presence in the city of Atlanta have some factor in the turnout at Turner?  Likely.  But is it the only and, more importantly, the primary reason?  Likely not.
[1] Technically, I traveled from Philly to come see that series, but I was there for my Braves, a completely separate scenario.
[2] Yes, I do believe that the majority are more rambunctious than any Philadelphia sports fans, despite how the media portrays them.  Granted, Eagles fans are a different breed of crazy, so are nearly all intense NFL fans.

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