CLEVELAND — With their 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, the Cleveland Indians find themselves tied for first place in the American League Central Division with just 44 games remaining in the season.
Only you might not know that the Indians appear primed to make a run at a fourth consecutive division crown by looking in the stands, as Progressive Field has endured yet another dip in attendance to this point in the 2019 campaign.
According to ESPN, Cleveland has averaged 21,062 fans per game through its first 60 home games of the 2019 season. That represents a 12.5 percent drop from the 24,083 fans the Indians averaged a season ago and the second straight year the Indians' attendance has dipped, despite the franchise's recent run of on-field success.
With Progressive Field's official capacity listed at 35,041, the Indians are currently averaging a crowd that fills 60 percent of their stadium.
For what it's worth, baseball attendance is down across the sport, as evidenced by where Cleveland ranks compared to other teams. Despite its drop in attendance from 2018, the Indians still rank 21st out of 30 in crowd average -- the same spot it occupied a season ago.
According to Baseball-Reference, MLB has seen its average attendance per game (through August 11) drop from 28,898 in 2018 to 28,426 this season. Add it all together and that represents a year over year difference of 836,732 fans -- or a 1.6 percent drop over the course of the first 1,772 games.
Looking at the same numbers, the Indians are one of 14 teams to see a drop in attendance this season and rank 25th in year over year difference per game. And while there are plenty of reasons why Cleveland's attendance may have slipped -- most notably a 29-30 start -- it's worth noting that the Indians have had the best record in baseball since June 1.
With the Boston Red Sox in town for three games this week and three home games against their A.L. Central rival Twins remaining in September, there's still time left for the Indians' attendance to improve by season's end. Having established itself as one of baseball's hottest teams, Cleveland has made up plenty of ground in the standings in the last two months.
Now it's time to see if it can do it in the stands as well.