A nice crowd of 3,090 fans joined the Boise Hawks and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on a Friday night at Memorial Stadium – watching the visitors end a three-game losing streak, topping the homestanding nine, 6-0…handing Boise their league-worst fifth shutout loss of 2011. It marked the eighth crowd this season of over 3,000 at the ballpark this season in 24 games (the team had 11 such games at this time last season). The Hawks are averaging 2,519 fans so far this season, over 200 fans per game less than last season, when the club drew over 105,000 fans – the tenth-straight season with at least 100,000 fans. If the Hawks are to draw 100,000, they must average a little over 2,800 fans a night during the final 14 dates at home this season.
But, where does the team stack up in short season baseball? In the Northwest League, the Hawks are fifth out of eight teams in attendance – behind perennial leaders Spokane and Vancouver (though both teams are also more than 100 fans below their total from 2010), with Eugene drawing more than 500 more fans than last season (thanks in part to a 14-game win streak early in the season). Salem-Keizer and Tri-City are drawing fans at an average pace, while Yakima is struggling at the gate (do the possibility of a move to Southwest Washington) and Everett is hovering right at the 2,500 fans per night mark.
The Hawks would rank in the middle of the pack in the 14-team New York-Penn League – the other Short-Season A grouping in minor league ball, as Brookyln, Staten Island, and Aberdeen all play in new stadiums and pack in over 6,000 fans per night. Teams in Auburn and Batavia (N.Y.) and Jamestown (Pa.) would love crowds the size of Yakima.
In the Appalachian League – the Advanced Rookie level – the Hawks would lead the league in attendance, as Greenville (Tenn.) leads the league with an average attendance of 1,400, whereas in the Pioneer League, Boise would rank fourth in attendance – behind Ogden, Billings, and Orem (all of which either have new or newly rennovated ballparks). Idaho Falls is still solid at the gate, averaging 2,400 in their fourth-year old Melaluca Field.
Going a step further (looking at all Class A affiliates), the Hawks draw more fans than five teams in the Midwest League (Cedar Rapids, South Bend, Clinton, Beloit, Burlington), five teams in the South Atlantic League (Asheville, Kannapolis, Savannah, Hickory, Hagerstown), six teams in the California League (Inland Empire, Rancho Cucamonga, Lancaster, Visalia, High Desert, Bakersfield), two teams in the Carolina League (Kinston, Lynchburg), and more than 11 of the 12 teams in the Florida State League (including over 200 fans more than the Daytona Cubs).
HIGHLIGHTS: Listen in to some more highlights from the season – Reggie Golden’s three run double on August 2 (http://yotestats.i8.com/Hawks/Highlights8-2-11.wma), Paul Hoilman’s two-run first inning homer on August 3 (http://yotestats.i8.com/Hawks/Highlights8-3-11.wma), and Willson Contreras’ two-run sixth inning single on August 4 (http://yotestats.i8.com/Hawks/Highlights8-4-11.wma).