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Effects Of Berkman/Oswalt Trades On Attendance

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One of my favorite Laws of Physics is Newton's Third Law. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.

Isaac may have been talking about bodies in motion, but the reason I like it so much is you can apply it to many non-physics related situations. Take the two blockbuster trades the Houston Astros made last weekend.

Oswalt and Berkman had to go. The Astros, as constructed, were not going to be a winning team. By trading the franchise icons, Houston is taking a short-term hit in attendance and public perception. At least, that's the traditional thinking.

Attendance in 2010 remains down about 2,400 a game from the 2009 pace and the Astros are set to draw 2,264,760 fans this season. That would be their lowest total in the MMP era. Further back, they're on pace for the the fewest fans since 1997. It's also the first time since the strike-shortened 1994 season that the Astros will finish outside of the top 10 in National League attendance.

It's worth noting, though, that the Astros drew the third-biggest crowd of the season on July 31, after both the Berkman and Oswalt trades had been announced. In general, the Astros have drawn about 7,000 more fans for Saturday games this season.

Even then, Houston drew over 4,000 more fans than their Saturday average and almost 11,000 more fans than their season average. For a start by Wandy Rodriguez against the Milwaukee Brewers, who have only averaged 30,000 fans per game in the past 12 at MMP, it was a huge crowd. Was that for the Jeff Bagwell Bobblehead? Possibly.

The point I think this illustrates is that the Astros haven't taken the hit that's expected after trading two franchise icons. That is, not yet. It remains to be seen how the rest of the season pans out.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.