Mouthpiece | Honkers running out of games to stem attendance slide

I sure hope the Honkers put up better numbers with one third of the Northwoods League season remaining, and I'm not referring to wins and losses.

Let's face it, when you start 0-8 in a 35-game sprint to the playoffs as the Honkers did in the second half, well, you're just not going to make it.

As a long-term observer I'm more concerned about the team's hard-to-ignore decline in home game attendance at Mayo Field, where the Honkers are in danger of averaging below 1,000 per game for the first time since the 2001 season.

It was encouraging to see great-weather crowds of 1,484 and 1,249 at the last two games, which raised the Honkers' season average to 900. But that still represents a 17 percent decline from last summer when the average fell below 1,100 (1,094) for the first time in 10 years.

It wasn't so long ago when the season-best crowd (1,484) at last Friday's game was routine; the Honkers averaged over 1,400 in 2006 and 2007. The hard reality in 2013 is they need to draw 1,218 per the last 11 home games to reach 1,000.


I contend that part of the problem is the old and tired state of Mayo Field, which is essentially the same facility as when I played Legion ball there in the early 1980s. But you've read this view before, and it has been explained that there is no money for a new Mayo Field.

I'm just pulling for the Honkers, who are struggling on the field, to go out strong at the gate -- for the health of the franchise, the local economy, and baseball.

— Donny Henn

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