OKLAHOMA CITY -- Texas first baseman Curtis Thigpen stepped to the plate Sunday afternoon in the bottom of the 10th inning and coolly crushed a two-run, walk-off homer to left field.
The hit appropriately completed an amazing weekend of baseball at the Big 12 Tournament that saw two one-loss teams – Texas and Baylor – win two desperation games each on Saturday to put them in the final game.
Three games went into extra innings, eight decided by two runs or less, and still the attendance never came close to capacity.
While the total attendance for the
weekend reached more than 86,000, the statistics are deceptive. The attendance
at an individual game topped at 7,000 for the Red River Shootout between
Also, the tournament lumps two games into each session, so the same fans that show for the first game of the session are probably there for the second. Going even further, it can be assumed that the same people that attend the first day attend the entire week because of the lesser expense of a tournament pass over 15 single-game tickets.
It is understandable that teams from
a long distance –
Maybe it is due to poor advertising and marketing of the event, or possibly from the apathy of people toward the opportunity to watch quality baseball.
The first night of the tournament
It only got more exciting from then
on. In front of a disappointing 5,000 fans,
Then the Aggies sent the Longhorns to the losers' bracket in a nail-biting 3-2 victory before a most disgusting 2,100 spectators.
Day three saw only two games, as the losers' bracket championship ensued. It proved to be the highest attendance of the tournament with over 13,000 total for the day.
Wherever the disconnect lies between marketing, advertising and putting butts in the seats, something needs to be done.
Maybe if the Big 12 hyped its star players like ESPN hypes LeBron James, then there would be no problem.
Baylor's Chris Durbin or
Obviously, none of these have to come true, most don't, but these are good players, and at least it would be a way to get people to the stadium.
Marketing has to be the problem. The alternative is too frightening to even think – that few people care about championship college baseball anymore.