Final totals, 2008 MLB attendance:
1 New York Yankees 4,298,655
2 New York Mets 4,042,047
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 3,730,573
4 St. Louis Cardinals 3,430,660
5 Philadelphia Phillies 3,422,583
Other National League Central teams:
7 Chicago Cubs 3,300,200
9 Milwaukee Brewers 3,068,468
12 Houston Astros 2,779,287
23 Cincinnati Reds 2,058,632
28 Pittsburgh Pirates 1,609,076
Overall, Major League Baseball attendance fell about 1.1 percent in 2008. It was on a pace to set a new record -- and crack the 80 million mark for the first time -- at midseason, but then slacked off during the dog days.
My speculation is that the downturn of the national economy inspired fans to save their cash and watch the games from the comfort of their own living rooms. I know people who usually were interested in my relatively inexpensive tickets took a pass on going to games in the second half. Sure, the Cardinals weren't great, but they were in the race until the last couple of weeks of the season. So I don't think performance, especially on the national scale, was the thing that kept fans away.
Sadly, the exciting Florida Marlins finished last in attendance, drawing only 1,335,075. That's just a shame. But it's not nearly as sad as the fact that Tampa, which celebrated its first playoff appearance this season as well as its first division championship, drew only 1,780,791 through the turnstyles. That put them at 26th.