The Nationals drew just 10,999 fans to last night's game against the Astros, the smallest crowd they've had in their six seasons in Washington. On Tuesday, that fact was not lost on manager Jim Riggleman, who flatly said the team needs to start winning games before crowds like Monday's become the norm.
"I think that sooner or later, we're going to be past the honeymoon period here," Riggleman said. "These fans have been tremendous. We've got to start winning some ballgames. You can't ask people to keep coming out. Our support has been amazing. When we come off the field after practice before the game, the comments that we get from fans, it's very supportive. It's appreciated greatly, believe me, because there's a lot of cities where we'd be coming off the field to different language."
The team would need to average 16,591 fans in its last nine home games to avoid having its lowest attendance since coming to Washington.
"These people have been great. It's appreciated," Riggleman said. "But it's also understood it's not going to last forever. People are just going to say, 'You know what? We're tired of hearing Jim talk about light at the end of the tunnel. And we're tired of hearing about players that we have coming.' We're going to have to win ballgames. That starts with me and my staff. We're going to have to get it done."