Fans show their support in record numbers

Fans show their support in record numbers

PITTSBURGH -- Even with the numbers trailing off in September, the Pirates finished the year with the fourth-highest home attendance total in franchise history.

With an announced crowd of 28,758 at Sunday's home finale, the season total climbed to 1,940,429. The only three seasons in which the Pirates drew more were 2001, 1991 and '92. In all three of those years, the Pirates surpassed the 2 million mark.

"They've been awesome," manager Clint Hurdle said when asked about the fan support. "Our guys are so appreciative and I'm so appreciative of the number of people that have come out. I do think we were also good for a number of them to find the fan again. We've got a lot of work to do to push that forward."

The Pirates averaged 24,255 fans over 80 home dates. That average ranked 22nd in the Majors. A year ago, the only National League club to draw fewer fans than the Pirates was the Marlins, who are at the bottom of the league again next year.

Overall, the team increased attendance by approximately 22 percent, one of the largest percentage increases in the Major Leagues. The Pirates drew 17 sellout crowds and 25 crowds of at least 30,000 fans.

"One of the main reasons I came here was the passion of the fans," general manager Neal Huntington said. "An apathetic fan base would bury a franchise faster than anything in this world. I believed from what I had heard and seen and experienced first-hand as a scout when I came to Pittsburgh was that this is a passionate fan base ready to be reignited.

"We still have a lot of people to win over. We still have a lot of people to win back. We still have a lot of people to pay back for their patience."