Sunday, March 29, 2009

You call that a crowd

Word out of the Big Apple earlier in the week was that a sellout crowd was expected for today's St. John's-Georgetown game, the inaugural event to be played at the New York Mets' new 42,000-seat Citi Field.

It was cause for concern since they were taking aim at the NCAA single-game attendance record of 40,106, set when San Diego State beat Houston 4-0 on March 11, 2004 in the inaugural game at Petco Park. For those who missed it: SDSU's Scott Shoemaker pitched a three-hit shutout against the Cougars, striking out 14 batters.

When the turnstiles stopped spinning today at Citi Field, only 22,397 people showed up to see Georgetown's 6-4 win.

Nice try New York.

Not really.

A reported 30,000 tickets were sold for the game and the other 12,000 given to charity. That in itself made the record worthy of a big, fat asterisk, but I decided to let this thing play out before offering comment. The 22,000 and change who did show up rank just seventh on the all-time list. So much for that.

The focus quickly shifted to ooohing and ahhhing over the new ballpark, which, apparently is still in the flight path of La Guardia Airport. Seems that old-time ballpark ambiance they're trying to create is kind of lost when a 747 flies overhead and temporarily blots out the sun and drowns out the crowd. But maybe that's just me. Citi was built adjacent to Shea Stadium, which has already been hit by a wrecking ball.

They did have former Mets reliever John Franco, a St. John's alum, throw out the first pitch. I would rather have seen Keith Hernandez. Or Kramer.

Here's a link to a story on first impressions of the new ballpark if you think I'm going all Bitterman. I guess their audacity of trying to break the record made me a little overprotective.

Anyway . . .

Here's the top 10 single-game regular season crowds:

40,106—San Diego State (4) vs. Houston (0), March 11, 2004, Petco Park, San Diego

28,836—Georgia Tech (12) vs. Georgia (5), May 11, 2004, Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

27,673—LSU (9) vs. Tulane (5), April 10, 2002, Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

27,134—TCU (6) vs. Houston (4), Texas (5) vs. Rice (4) and Tulane (6) vs. Texas Tech (4), Feb.
11, 2006, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

25,175—Long Beach St. (5) vs. San Diego State (0), March 13, 2004, Petco Park, San Diego

23,984 — Vanderbilt (7) vs. Arizona st. (6), Texas A&M (3) vs. Houston (2), and rice (7) vs.
Baylor (0), Feb. 10, 2007, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

22,397 — Georgetown (6) vs. St. John's (4), March 29, 2009, Citi Field, New York

21,995—Baylor (3) vs. Tennessee (2), Oklahoma St. (3) vs. Houston (2), and Rice (3) vs. Texas
A&M (1), Feb. 12, 2005, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

21,724—Texas (6) vs. Rice (3), Feb. 14, 2004, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

21,620—Georgia (10) vs. Georgia Tech (7), April 24, 2007, Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

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