The Seattle Mariners used to be one of MLB's greatest success stories. They had a sparkling brand new stadium, a great team that would go on to set a record for wins in a single season and an adoring city that turned up day in, day out to see them play. Now they are just a shell of their former selves.
After a decade of losing, in which they have finished in the AL West cellar in seven of the last nine years, the Mariners have seen their support disappear and in 2012 they had just 8,500 season ticket holders, or season ticket equivalents. That is a 61 percent drop from 2002, when they had enough season ticket holders to draw more people on those alone, without a single single-game ticket sold, than they did in all of 2012.
Just a decade ago, the Mariners were leading all of MLB in attendance. Now they are floundering near the bottom of the league in attendance, just like their team is on the field.
Worst of all? They don't expect it to get much better in 2013, according to executive VP for business, Bob Aylward.
We don't anticipate a big upsurge, but I think it will be very similar to last year based on the conversations I've had.
It is tough to imagine that this Mariners franchise is the same one that we watched a decade ago, but it is. Hopefully it gets better, but don't count on it, at least not anytime soon.