The Phillies knew they were making drastic changes by trading away key players at the deadline and now they are seeing the effects. Monday night's game between the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park brought an announced attendance of 41,665, breaking the team's record-setting sellout streak.
The Phillies sold out an amazing 257 games starting on July 6, 2009, it is the longest streak in National League history and the third-longest in MLB history. Only the Indians with 445 straight from 1995-2001 and the Red Sox with a current streak of 772 can boast more consecutive sellouts.
Phillies president David Montgomery released a statement via the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The number of sellouts could not have been possible without the tremendous loyalty of our fans who continue to lead all of Major League Baseball in average attendance this year."
The Phillies do, in fact, lead the majors this season with average attendance, as they did last season. They have ranked in the top five of average attendance in each of the last five years.
Their streak is remarkable in how hard it is to sustain a fan base in professional sports and in professional baseball. The Nationals have made a huge improvement this season in winning games and have seen a big jump in ticket sales. Washington's average attendance ranks 15th in the majors this season after slotting 20th last year. They have improved their attendance by nearly 5,000 patrons per game. But at that rate of increase they would need three more years to make the top five in the league.
The Phillies may retool and be competitive next year as they still have some talent, but it is stories like these that seem to continue a changing of eras in the N.L. East.