Fans are once again packing Dodger Stadium. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Build it and they will come. Not the ballpark, the team.
Dodger fans suffered through some -- what might politely be termed -- lean times under Frank McCourt. Dragging a proud franchise through the embarrassment of bankruptcy can do that.
Attendance officially plummeted approximately 18% in 2011 under McCourt, though anyone with a functioning eyeball could tell it was actually more than twice that in actual attendance.
But the Dodgers’ fan base is huge and deep, and however angry and frustrated they were, many remained followers in waiting.
And now they are back, back in familiar droves, back loyal like McCourt could never really appreciate.
It’s no small factor, of course, that the team is also very good. But new ownership recognized that if a strong product was put on the field, the fans would return. And they have.
The Dodgers currently lead baseball in attendance, averaging 45,366 per game. That puts them on pace to draw approximately 3.7 million on the season, though the way the team is currently winning, that average could climb during the stretch.
Ownership also recognized the need to modernize Dodger Stadium, and if the players mostly benefited, certainly many ballpark upgrades have been appreciated.
But a competitive team remains the greatest draw in Los Angeles and that’s what ownership spent serious money to put on the field. Dodger fans span generations and were lying in wait. They’re waiting no more.