Tim Tebow‘s debut homestand was not enough to generate big crowds at NYSEG Stadium amidst cold temperatures, as the weather had an effect on attendance for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Class AA; Eastern League).
With their home game on Wednesday, the Rumble Ponies closed out a season-opening homestand that was highlighted by the Double-A debut of Tebow. The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback provided an attendance boost around the minors last year during his stints with the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League) and St. Lucie Mets (High A; Florida State League), and it was anticipated that it he would do the same for the Eastern League and Rumble Ponies this year.
While that is likely to still be the case, cold weather in Binghamton resulted in the Rumble Ponies drawing under 1,000 fans on Tuesday and Wednesday. That leaves the Rumble Ponies low in the Eastern League’s attendance standings over the early phases of the season, but the weather was undeniably a factor. More from the Press & Sun Bulletin:
But it was only in the mid-40s and the announced attendance of 910 – again, not even close to folks in the seats – was the second-lowest of the season to Tuesday’s 904.
Of the six Eastern League teams that have played home games this season, only Bowie’s average attendance of 1,756 is lower than Binghamton’s 1,994.
“It’s tough to judge,” Binghamton manager Luis Rojas said of the paltry turnouts. “It’s been cold.”
It should be noted that that the conditions led to a postponement in one case, with the Rumble Ponies’ matchup on Friday against the Portland Sea Dogs scratched due to inclement weather (it has been rescheduled for July). Friday’s postponement was also followed by blustery conditions on Saturday and Sunday, with respective game time temperatures of 33 and 32 degrees. Attendance numbers were also stronger earlier in the homestand, with Thursday’s crowd of 5,247 at NYSEG Stadium and Tebow’s first-pitch home run serving as one of the highlights of Opening Day in Minor League Baseball.
The weather has had its affect on attendance at both the major and minor league levels over the early weeks of the season. The Baltimore Orioles reported just 7,915 fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday, while the Chicago White Sox drew small crowds for their early-week series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, had Monday’s home opener snowed out, forcing it to be rescheduled for Tuesday. This has obviously not been ideal baseball weather.