May 17, 1984

Forgive this straying off the Boston path, but this brief seemed interesting, in a quirky sort of way.

(Besides, the Celtics were off, the Bruins were home for the summer and the Red Sox beat the Indians before a gathering of 4,246 bored Clevelanders.)

Speaking of attendance …

Years ago, when Nashua had a team in the independent Atlantic League, a colleague asked how the ballclub could claim there were about five times more people in Holman Stadium than were actually present.

He had a bit of trouble digesting the answer – that teams don’t announce the number of fannies occupying seats, they announce the number of tickets sold. That’s the standard procedure for every professional league in every professional sport.

Which is not to say that teams haven’t occasionally made a slight twist to those numbers when necessary.

Playing at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., the Twins were mired in a prolonged slump in drawing folks out to that old farmland. Recurrent rumors had them moving to any city that would build them a new ballpark.

They found themselves in the business news on this date after, as stated in the AP report, they “set an unofficial major league record for no-shows.” The in-house attendance for a game against the Blue Jays came in at 6,346. The paid attendance was 51,863.

A group of businesspeople, fearing that the ballclub would skip town if attendance didn’t dramatically improve, gobbled up the difference.

Thanks to those efforts, the Twins attendance for the season crossed the finish line at 1,598,692, up from 858,539 in 1983.

Since then, the Twins have routinely put a much better product on the field in two more new ballparks.