The Toronto Blue Jays are poised for some serious financial pain at the ticket gates in 2019, even with the savior that is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the cusp on his debut.
The Rogers Centre saw 878,605 fewer fans come through the turnstiles during the 2018 campaign as opposed to the previous season. The Blue Jays ranked 13th in league attendance and averaged 28.707 fans per game, a far cry from their fourth place finish in 2017.
The Blue Jays have no intention of signing any of the available big name free agents this offseason as the brain trust prepares for a few lean seasons as the youngsters obtain valuable on the job training at the MLB level.
Unfortunately for Rogers, the fans come out in droves when the team is winning, a rebuild will not pay dividends at the gates. Thankfully, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will offset some of the hurt as many Blue Jays faithful will want to get a first-hand look at the young phenom in 2019.
There will be an insurmountable amount of pressure for Vladdy to perform on the field and live up to the enormous expectations placed upon him.
The loss of Josh Donaldson and the persistent trade rumours surrounding fan favourites Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Kevin Pillar may add further doom and gloom at the box office. Sanchez is represented by the infamous Scott Boras, who publicly ripped the Blue Jays this offseason for their attendance drop.
“Toronto is a wonderful city, it’s been a great franchise, they’ve drawn three million fans,” Boras said. “They’ve lost near a third of their fan base due to the Blue Flu of not bringing attractive players that their fans find interesting to their market.
Here is a look at the numbers over the past three seasons courtesy of Baseball Reference:
2018– Ranked 13th- 2,325,281, Avg. 28,707
2017– Ranked 4th- 3,203,886, Avg. 39.554
2016– Ranked 3rd- 3,392,099, Avg. 41,878
The Jays finished fourth in the AL East in 2018 with a 73-89 record and will, unfortunately, be in tough once again as the Red Sox and Yankees are showing no signs of regression.
Ross Atkins and company undoubtedly have a blueprint laid out for the future, although they may take it on the chin in the interim. Until the plan comes to fruition, you wont to have to fight long lineups for your next $10 beer purchase or the washroom visit that will surely follow.