Way back in September 2004, before the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals, I wrote:
To succeed financially, the new Washington team must draw well from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Attendance will be high for a few years, because the closeness of major-league baseball will be a novelty to fans who’ve had to trek to Baltimore to see the increasingly hapless Orioles. But suburbanites’ allegiance to the new Washington team won’t survive more than a few losing seasons — and more than a few seem likely, given the Expos’ track record. As the crowds wane, suburbanites will become increasingly reluctant to journey into the city. And, so, the taxpayers of D.C. (and perhaps the taxpayers of the nation) are likely to be stuck with an expensive memento of false civic pride.
I’m not sure about this year’s attendance, but the trend is almost certain to be downward, given the Nats steady dive toward the bottom of the National League. Here are the Nats’ W-L records from 2005 through yesterday:
2005 – .500 (5th of 5 in their division; tied for 9th in their 16-team league)
2006 – .438 (5th of 5 in their division; 14th in the league)
2007 – .451 (4th of 5 in their division; tied for 11th in the league)
2008 – .366 (5th of 5 in their division; last in the league)
2009. – .345 (5th of 5 in their division; last in the league)
As I’ve said before, D.C. isn’t a baseball town. The teams are jinxed by their non-fans.