The Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Detroit Tigers in a battle between two of Major League Baseball’s worst teams on Wednesday night. Both clubs have very little to play for at this point in the year and clearly fans felt like their time could be spent better elsewhere.
In a picture posted by Dejan Kovacevic on Twitter, PNC Park was shown almost entirely empty just after first pitch. Fans were scattered in seats around the ballpark, but there were no more than a couple hundred people who had come to watch the Pirates play.
Pittsburgh lost 5-1, dropping to 50-90 on the year, but the story of the game came from the lack of fans that were there to see it.
Take a look at the haunting picture of PNC Park taken by Kovacevic:
Can’t be even 500 people here right now. No chance. And this is why I keep writing that there can’t be a sequel to this. Real progress has to come in 2022. This is Pittsburgh, not Altoona or Greensboro or Bradenton. pic.twitter.com/TeTW7L1YQ4
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) September 8, 2021
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the Pirates have struggled to get fans to come see them play. Pittsburgh ranks 25th in attendance this year, with an average of just 10,384 fans per home game.
The problem at PNC Park stems back much further than just 2021. The Pirates ranked 27th in attendance in 2019, 28th in 2018 and 25th in 2017. The last time the organization ranked in the top half in attendance was seven years ago.
Of course, it’s difficult to appeal to a small-market fanbase unless you’re winning games. The Pirates haven’t had a winning record since 2018 and have only made the playoffs three times since 1992.
The problem in Pittsburgh is multi-faceted and may take time to fix, but the organization has to at least make some changes to get back on the right track and get fans excited about the city’s baseball team again. That starts with the Pirates winning games, which won’t come until 2022 at the earliest.