Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Large Crowds and Rookie Starters

Today’s National League playoff baseball is bound to be affected by rabid home field crowds.  Pittsburgh, starved of post-season play for 21 seasons, will undoubtedly be breaking decibel safety levels as attendance will exceed seating capacity in their bandbox of a ballpark.  On Wednesday’s wildcard game at PNC Park, the attendance at the 38,496 seat ballpark was 40,487.  So almost 2,000 fans squeezed into the standing room only section and watched the game on their feet.

Pittsburgh's picturesque PNC Park will be rocking with 40,000 fans today.

Watch for the same thing today as the Pirates host the first League Division Series game in their history.  The Bucco faithful are going to go nuts.

The same thing can be said for playoff starved Dodger fans who will arrive in numbers to shame the Atlanta crowds that failed to sellout again this year for Braves playoff games. It’ll by close to 56,000 towel waving fans that will be as raucous as any Dodger crowd ever.  Home Field advantage could play a role in both of these games played 3,000 miles apart today.  No two cities are more worthy of success that both pittsburgh and Los Angeles as well.

Pittsburgh is deserving simply due to that fan bases perseverance and patience.  The Bucs are an exciting young team to watch.  Down the stretch crowds at PNC have been sellouts and particularly loud.  Meanwhile, the Dodgers led the majors in team attendance this year as crowds have returned following the final McCourt ownership year when only 36,236 attended per game in 2011.  Two years later the average paid attendance was nearly 10,000 more at 46,216. 

Though Dodger Stadium is said to have a 56,000 capacity that dates back to the Stadium’s opening in 1962, recent construction projects and seat reconfigurations have removed hundreds of seats, leaving sellout crowds after a few thousand short of that figure.  I honestly wonder what the actual seat capacity is for Dodger Stadium now.  

Interestingly enough, 56,800 squeezed into the Stadium for the 2008 NLCS games 3-5 against Philadelphia.  So it makes me question if those extra 800 fans beyond capacity were accommodated in luxury boxes, since there is no official standing room only section at Dodger Stadium of which I am aware. 

On the field today, two rookies with identical regular season records toe the rubber as reports from the press conference yesterday were all positive regarding the health of Dodger starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00).  Ryu has faced the Braves twice this season, with a positive result when he took the mound against them at Dodger Stadium in June (7 1/3 innings, 1 ER allowed, in a no-decision that the Dodgers eventually won 2-1).  Julio Teheran, (14-8, 3.20) Atlanta’s rookie starter, has only been faced by Michael Young of the Dodgers, and that was a mere 4 plate appearances while he was with the Phillies.

(photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Scouting reports  will play a major role for the Dodgers today, who will be at the disadvantage of going against a young rookie with good stuff in a pitchers park with the shadows in play.  Add that John Hirshbeck is behind the plate, known to call a lot of borderline pitches as strikes and this game has the makings of a real pitchers duel.  

It’s going to be nail-biting/white knuckles playoff baseball at the Ravine this afternoon.  Maybe the intangible advantage of the home field and a wild crowd will turn out to be the difference in this game.  Rookies have known to get rattled under pressure. 

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