Unknøwn Posted March 17, 2009 Share Posted March 17, 2009 MIAMI - First baseman Kevin Youkilis is accustomed to playing in front of big crowds with the Red Sox [team stats], so the disappointing attendance figures for Team USA’s games in the World Baseball Classic has surprised him.In Sunday’s win against the Netherlands, just 11,059 fans were on hand at Dolphin Stadium. A night earlier, the U.S. drew 30,595, but more than half of the crowd was there in support of Puerto Rico.“I don’t think we have enough pride in this,” Youkilis said yesterday at Team USA’s workout. “It’s kind of a sad day - and I know it’s a tough time (economically) to buy tickets - when you see that. I don’t think there’s as much pride in the USA as there is for these other countries. There was a whole section of Dominican fans (Sunday) night just here to watch baseball. I think we’re losing a little bit of pride for, quote, ‘America’s national pastime.’ ”Beyond the economy, there is the market in South Florida, which seldom draws well for baseball. Dolphin Stadium isn’t easily accessible for fans, and it’s a poor facility for the sport.Still, the lack of fan support is puzzling to Youkilis.“It definitely hurts a little bit to know that you’re always the away team in your own country,” he said. “There are some good people out there, but it would be nice to have a lot more of those people chanting ‘USA,’ holding up American flags. That’s the one thing we didn’t see much of the other night - there were more Puerto Rican flags than American (flags).”Youkilis often has said the intensity that comes with playing in front of packed houses at Fenway Park [map] every night can be an advantage for the home team. He wishes Team USA could experience the same.“If there was 45,000 people it would definitely get the guys going a lot more,” he said. “From playing in front of that every night, it gets you going. There are days when you’re dragging and the fans lift you up with the support. I wouldn’t say that’s a factor in games we’re not winning, but it’s more (about improving) the environment overall.” Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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