Earlier this month, it seemed as though Atlanta was the subject of some pretty bad press in terms of being a horrible sports city. Articles like this seemed to be popping up left and right. I thought it was rather interesting because I've lived here for almost 16 years (less 6 months spent in St. Louis), and I've always wondered why the attendance always seems to be lacking at professional sports games here. I'm certainly not pointing any fingers. In the 16 years I've been here, I've been to one Hawks game, two Falcons games, three Thrashers games (RIP) and maybe five or six Braves games. I'm sure I could come up with a few excuses or reasons -- I don't like crowds; I don't like fighting traffic; I don't like being hit-up for money by an overwhelming number of homeless people; I don't particularly care for pro basketball; I could care less about hockey; and on and on and on.
But that's just me.
The picture below was taken in September of 2010. I had an opportunity to take Sloane to her first Braves game, and since we were moving to St. Louis two months later, I figured it was one of those "Now or Never" situations. Ironically, the Braves were playing the Cardinals.
Well, first of all, Sloane was wearing a Cardinals baseball cap (Hadley was born and raised in St. Louis) and I don't even own a Braves cap. Secondly, having spent a fair amount of time in St. Louis over the last decade, I've been to a handful of Cardinals games, and every single one of them was packed. Cardinals fans are insanely loyal and going to the games is just in their blood. It's just something you do if you live in St. Louis. You go to the games. You ARE a fan.
Why isn't it like that in Atlanta? I mean take a look at the picture above...it's a Braves/Cardinals game on a gorgeous September night, yet the stadium looks half empty. If that game was being played in St. Louis, you wouldn't see nearly that many empty seats. Virtually none.
So why exactly is that the case? I've always heard that it's because Atlanta is an extremely transient town. People come and go...move here and move away...and so the fan base has just never had a chance to materialize.
What about New York? Or Los Angeles? You can't tell me those cities aren't transient. Yet if you go to a Yankees game or a Dodgers game, I bet you'd see more fan support than we have. But why is that so?
Again, I'm not pointing fingers here. I'm just wondering, that's all.
I've never really been a huge baseball fanatic. I played it as a kid, but I got burned out after five or six years. And having grown up in Mississippi, I felt no allegiance to any specific ball team because we had none. Perhaps that's why I've never really cared one way or another.
But that's going to change, I can tell you that. With three boys, you can bet we'll be going to Braves games. And Falcons games. Maybe even Hawks games, but please don't hold me to that one. You never know, though.
Anyway, I'd still love to hear your opinions on whether you agree with the recent accusations of being a terrible sports city. If you agree, then why? If you don't, I'd love to know that to.