Reading Room: An explanation for the salary dump

After the attendance was announced on Tuesday night, Cheryl at South Side Hit Girl tweeted, "Cannot remember last time it was so low for #WhiteSox v #Yankees."

Date Day of Week Attendance
8/2/11 Tuesday 21,661
8/1/11 Monday 24,142
4/22/08 Tuesday 25,012
4/24/08 Thursday 27,243
4/23/08 Wednesday 27,751
5/17/07 Thursday 30,422
6/6/07 Wednesday 30,829
6/5/07 Tuesday 30,895
5/16/07 (1) Wednesday 30,953
6/30/09 Thursday 31,305
6/7/07 Thursday 32,688
6/4/07 Monday 32,703
5/16/07 (2) Wednesday 34,609
8/2/09 Sunday 36,325
7/31/09 Friday 38,228
8/27/10 Friday 38,596
8/1/09 Saturday 38,763
8/28/10 Saturday 38,811
8/10/06 Thursday 39,289
8/9/06 Wednesday 39,406
8/29/10 Sunday 39,433
8/8/06 Tuesday 39,872

It's an interesting question, so I decided to look up all the Sox-Yankees games at U.S. Cellular Field since the post-2005 attendance bump, then put them all together in chart form (pictured right). To be fair to this current all-weekday series, I also included the day of the week for additional context.

The result: It's a new low, and by a comfortable margin. And you can't pin it all on the stormy skies.

The only other series that comes close was in April of 2008, and that had three strikes against it. Attendance is always down during Chicago Aprils, especially during an all-school-day series, and that year's Sox still had yet to prove that they were better than the 90-loss team that preceded it.

Otherwise, every other post-2005 series with the Yankees has drawn at least 30,000 per game.

Two national baseball writers -- Jonah Keri and Joe Sheehan (I believe; can't find the blurb) -- were baffled by the White Sox's decision to shed payroll when they were still very much in contention. Well, here you go. This is probably what Jerry Reinsdorf and his financial department looked at when trying to project revenue against payroll for the rest of the season, and why they chose to settle for dumping Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen on the Toronto Blue Jays instead of pursuing a more thrilling (and/or costly) return.

I'll give the Sox credit -- at least they're not throwing the fans under the bus this time. In fact, they're actually acting on their low-support claims. In previous years, Kenny Williams griped about disappointing turnouts limiting his flexibility, only to take on Jake Peavy and Alex Rios' enormous contracts. With a franchise-record payroll this season, the Sox simply couldn't afford any more misdirection.

They wouldn't have a right to complain, anyway. It's hard enough watching this team at home, so imagine trying to justify paying the premium-series price (cheapest ticket: $36; cheapest lower-deck seat: $57) to watch a pitcher with an 8.00 ERA throttle the home team. They took away a Half-Price Monday for this?

 

Christian Marrero Reading Room

Brett Ballantini has a chat with Jake Peavy, talking about the trials and tribulations of his comeback from his surgery.

Adam Dunn gets the New York Times treatment -- except he's not called "Mr. Dunn" upon second reference.

Greg Walker is already counting on being around next season, with a popular refrain around these parts:

"I do think at the end of this year he's going to have to relook," Walker said. "The big thing I'm telling Alex is that until he gets to where he can drive the ball the other way when he was a young player, that pull hitters in this league don't hold up for average. And when you start getting mentally unsuccessful, then mentally you get down and a lot of things start coming out."

Brent Morel speaks! A couple things about this Scott Merkin article. One is that he writes, "Morel has looked steadily more comfortable at the plate as the season has progressed," which I don't know is true. The other is that he notes Morel's reverse platoon split -- he's hitting righties better than lefties -- while pointing out that he's not starting against righties. Not that I would expect a reverse split to continue based on his minor-league track record, but I'm just sayin'.

Chuck Garfien talks to Matt Thornton about the report saying the Sox had "fallen out of love" with him, and Thornton shares his perspective as a guy who doesn't consider himself untouchable.

J.J. says, "There, there, Matt."

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