For Chris Ash's first spring game at Rutgers, he wanted to see big numbers in the stands as a recruiting tool. The crowd was around 15,000, not great, but better than a lot of other schools, including more than a few in the B1G. Most people were pretty satisfied with the number. Of course, many also came up with excuses as to why it wasn't better.
Now, it's interesting that not only are there attendance questions in the college ranks; the issue crosses the sports spectrum, including a certain capital-based baseball team that currently finds itself in first place, 18 games over .500, and ahead of its second place competitor by six games. Yes, even success doesn't always breed supportive crowds.
A Washington Post story in May highlighted the ongoing issues of Nats fans leaving games early. As well as arriving late (sounds like the Dodgers' fans). Manager also doesn't like the fact that his fans - besides being invisible - are also pretty passive.
Dusty Baker said some Nats would like a more boisterous home crowd. Then he talked about the fans some more. https://t.co/7k2MZFznW4— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) July 6, 2016
It has been an ongoing issue in D.C. for a while and appears to come up as a talk-show and social media topic annually in the Nation's Capital.
And just like other fan bases, they come up with excuses: bad parking, the Metro closing early for night games, bad weather. Sounds similar to: noon starts, long walks from parking to the stadium, cold (or hot) weather.
And maybe a little like me, there are folks in DC who jump a bit on the fans.
@dcsportsbog it's almost a weekly occurrence, Nats fans being told we aren't supportive enough etc. Love the line about staring at phones.— Nate Richman (@Nrichman13) June 30, 2016
There are some folks in D.C. who apparently take their negative "Nat-itude" to another level.
Even if Nats win the WS, I hope we keep leaving early and golf clapping, because it seems to drive other fans nuts. pic.twitter.com/WILtTOIZ75— The D.C. Universe (@dcuniverse) June 28, 2016
Why go to any live event?
So let's come back to Rutgers football. We had more than a few people comment about the number of noon starts Rutgers has this year - more than the average B1G team - and how much that...well, how much that sucks. There were even a few who said they wouldn't go to games.
Which brings me to this tweet from the D.C. fan conversation:
Yeah, it's cozy at home. Beer and food is a lot cheaper. If you stay home, it's warm in the cold weather of November and cool in the early fall. But the whole idea is to be a part of the experience. To be there.
If you were at the 2006 Louisville game, was there any more exhilarating feeling than being in the stands and hugging strangers? Or being there, heart in your throat as the Michigan kicker lined up the uprights, and then watching Kemoko Turay defy gravity to preserve the win against Michigan in 2014?
You. Had. To. Be. There. Yet there are those who agree with Mr. Corcoran above in saying, why bother? Too much hassle, too much money, too little enthusiasm. I say, if that's you, then - just like noon starts - you su....aren't a very serious fan.
But the 2016 season is coming. The season opener at home is just around 50 days away. Will you be there? How many will be there? Will the excitement of Pat Hobbs and Chris Ash make a difference in the performance on the field? And will that translate into fans in the stands? In 2015 - a very shaky season on so many fronts - Rutgers still averaged 47,723 fans at home, with a high of 53,111 against Ohio State.
Do we top that? What will we get against the likes of Howard, New Mexico, Illinois, and Indiana? You have to figure Iowa early in the season, Michigan (duh!), and Penn State will draw well. Will the team's performance on the field be elevated, and will that lead to bigger crowds? What's the final number going to be?
Cast your vote in the poll and we'll see you in the comments. You gonna be there?