CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians may or may not be fans of the poet T.S. Eliot but it's probably safe to say they agree with his assertion that "April is the cruelest month."
"April really hit us hard due to the weather," said Indians Senior Dir. of Communications Curtis Danburg. "We were 22 degrees lower in temperature April this year compared to last year, the biggest gap among any major league baseball city. So we've been playing catchup since."
The Indians, coming off their best season attendance-wise since 2008, are not alone. Major League Baseball attendance has reportedly dropped to the lowest average in 15 years, down 6.6 percent from last year according to Fortune and Stats LLC.
"The weather contributed in all MLB cities I think that contributed to the numbers being down but we're seeing great trends upwards," Danburg said. "Now the weather is heating up and so is the Tribe and we're ready for a big summer."
This past weekend, the Tribe opened up against the Twins on Friday and were ranked 24th in the league in attendance averaging 19,714 a game. After a three-game set with the Twins where they averaged 30,000 a game, the team saw it's overall average attendance jump by nearly a thousand fans. The team's ranking in the league hopped two spaces to the No. 22 spot.
Over the last four years, the Indians have gotten used to taking a back seat to the Cavs until mid-June.
"Never a concern," Danburg said. "It's great for the city, great for the Cavaliers organization and luckily we didn't have too many head-to-head nights where we were playing and they were playing, so even one of the NBA Finals games we played in the day and they played at night and a lot of our players were able to go and enjoy and be a part of the action too. So it's a win-win for all of us but now that they're done we can focus on the Tribe and take advantage of that."
The team is in the middle of a rare back-to-back weekend at home with the nearby Detroit Tigers coming in this week.
"We have a promotion filled weekend against the Tigers but we should expect to see some sellouts," Danburg said.