USA TODAY International Edition



- Gabe Lacques

USA TODAY Sports examines who’s up and who’s down – and what it all means – for all 30 MLB markets through their first 12 home dates:

Blue Jays (+ 59%)

Average: 31,516

Smallest crowd: 20,468

What it means: Since opening day 2019, the Blue Jays have welcomed a superstar in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., spent $ 260 million on George Springer and Kevin Gausman and traded to fill in the gaps. Toronto noticed.

Marlins (+ 32%)

Average: 13,589

Smallest crowd: 6,224

What it means: Don’t get too excited: Miami averaged 10,287 in its first dozen 2019 dates. Like the on- field product, building a fan base is meticulous here.

Tigers (+ 27%)

Average: 21,282

Smallest crowd: 10,522

What it means: An encouragin­g upswing after the $ 140 million signing of Javy Baez and arrival of Spencer Torkelson followed six consecutiv­e losing seasons.

White Sox (+ 25%)

Average: 20,610

Smallest crowd: 11,242

What it means: One of just two teams to gain attendance during a partially open 2021 campaign, the White Sox still have plenty of gate and performanc­e upside.

Padres (+ 23%)

Average: 37,643

Smallest crowd: 25,359

What it means: Still the only game in town and on track to draw 3 million fans for the first time since Petco Park’s inaugural 2004 season.

Braves (+ 19%)

Average: 37,344

Smallest crowd: 30,362

What it means: Year 6 of Truist Park should be its best- attended following a World Series title and the growing popularity of the adjacent Battery.

Orioles (+ 20%)

Average: 20,302

Smallest crowd: 7,427

What it means: The early total is bumped by a Yankees visit, though “1992 pricing” to celebrate Camden Yards and free tickets for kids seems to be paying off.

Royals (+ 19%)

Average: 16,247

Smallest crowd: 8,969

What it means: Seven crowds of at least 15,000, compared to just two over similar 2019 stretch.

Reds (+ 15%)

Average: 17,857

Smallest crowd: 9,192

What it means: Biggest challenges may still remain, with worst team in majors trying to attract fans after club president’s “Where else you going to go?” dare.

Dodgers (+ 4%)

Average: 49,058

Smallest crowd: 38,888

What it means: They drew crowds of 52,000 on consecutiv­e Monday and Tuesday nights in April, which is really all you need to know.

Mets (+ 4%)

Average: 30,851

Smallest crowd: 23,413

What it means: Will Steve Cohen’s huge acquisitio­ns pay for themselves? If the 20- 10 Mets keep winning, they might.

Twins (+ 0.3%)

Average: 17,521

Smallest crowd: 11,803

What it means: Carlos Correa didn’t exactly break the box office, but Twins fans remain resolute through cold, snow, pandemic and lockout.

Mariners (+ 0.3%)

Average: 24,936

Smallest crowd: 9,374

What it means: Slow start may threaten ability to make significan­t gains with dynamic young team.

Rockies (+ 0.1%)

Average: 33,282

Smallest crowd: 20,403

What it means: Is it the legalized cannabis? The bevy of IPAs on tap? The mile- high air? Two years of pandemic, the trade of a franchise player, the public mistrust of ownership and management and yet the Rockies are an attendance machine. What a market.

Giants (+ 0.01%)

Average: 32,544

Smallest crowd: 22,562

What it means: Nearly identical to 2019 pace ( 32,547 through 12 games), but now must confront just the second season in Oracle Park history missing both Barry Bonds and Buster Posey. Will a team bereft of box office heroes still draw?

Astros (- 1%)

Average: 32,145

Smallest crowd: 23,797

What it means: Personnel turnover and an ugly scandal haven’t slowed the onor off- field success.

Cardinals (- 4%)

Average: 38,970

Smallest crowd: 32,215

What it means: The attendance floor and the early eye test both suggest the market for a Cards ticket is softening a bit.

Red Sox (- 6)

Average: 32,027

Smallest crowd: 27,679

What it means: Ticket scarcity is typically the rule at Fenway Park. A struggling team that can’t score may test that theory after two decades of nearly uninterrup­ted success.

Rays (- 9)

Average: 13,524

Smallest crowd: 7,290

What it means: Exciting, successful team fights headwinds of poorly located stadium, relocation talk, unconfirme­d revenue deficit. Repeat until at least 2027.

Angels (- 9%)

Average: 32,767

Smallest crowd: 16,132

What it means: The club found its low point: A Tuesday afternoon April game against Miami drew the smallest crowd since the Angels won the 2002 World Series.

Yankees (- 9%)

Average: 35,895

Smallest crowd: 25,068

What it means: Huge stadium means secondary market options abound, as Max Waisvisz, who brokers Yankee tickets out of Chicago, notes. “I have 16 $ 30 bleacher tickets for today’s game,” he says, “selling for $ 5 each.”

Rangers (- 11%)

Average: 24,493

Smallest crowd: 15,862

What it means: It’s a bit alarming that Year 2 of climate- controlled Globe Life Field can’t keep pace with the final year of Globe Life Ballpark – even after the Rangers spent more than $ 500 million on free agents.

Cubs (- 12%)

Average: 31,191

Smallest crowd: 25,005

What it means: The softening Cubs market arrived last summer, when the club enjoyed large summer crowds once attendance restrictio­ns lifted, only to see them sag – eight gates of 25,000 or less – following the trades of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez.

Guardians (- 18%)

Average: 13,863 ( through nine home dates, due to rainouts)

Smallest crowd: 8,345

What it means: Add poor weather to general indifferen­ce that could not be overcome with a name change and the long- term signing of Jose Ramirez.

Pirates (- 21%)

Average: 12,256

Smallest crowd: 8,331

What it means: The seventh season without a playoff berth comes with owner Bob Nutting failing to commit significan­t dollars to free agent signings, giving divisional peers like Milwaukee a head start.

Brewers (- 22%)

Average: 27,390

Smallest crowd: 20,790

What it means: While demand has softened relative to a 2019 season coming off an NLCS trip, the Brewers remain a mid- market wonder, outdrawing the White Sox, Mariners and Rangers and nearly equaling the Phillies.

Phillies (- 24%)

Average: 28,961

Smallest crowd: 20,127

What it means: Tough to match Year 1 of the Bryce Harper era, but this year’s stagnant numbers show the club must win fairly big and not rely on owner John Middleton’s annual gift of winter trinkets – which this year included Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellano­s.

Diamondbac­ks (- 26%)

Average: 20,217

Smallest crowd: 15,138

What it means: A distressed market, where only the sunbirds rooting on the Padres, Giants and Dodgers keep the turnstiles moving with any predictivi­ty.

Nationals (- 27%)

Average: 20,550

Smallest crowd: 11,720

What it means: Attendance already dipped from 2.5 million to 2.2 million in 2019, when the club won the World Series – followed by two injury- wracked seasons that saw many of their charismati­c stars traded away. Now, the Lerner family is exploring a sale of the team.

A’s (- 58%)

Average: 7,283

Smallest crowd: 2,488

What it means: A strip- mined roster competing in an antiquated facility before fans disillusio­ned by threats to move to Las Vegas unless public money is spent on the owner’s pet condo project? Yeah, this is what you get.

 ?? KEVIN SOUSA/ USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Blue Jays fans have come out in droves in Toronto so far this season.
KEVIN SOUSA/ USA TODAY SPORTS Blue Jays fans have come out in droves in Toronto so far this season.

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