The rapid growth of Buhner Buzz Night, which had its fourth installment Thursday at the Kingdome, is just one indication of how popular the Seattle Mariners have become.
Jay Buhner and his Mariners teammates have become one of the greatest draws in the major leagues and it is showing in attendance and television ratings.
According to TV ratings for single markets, the Mariners draw the largest viewership of any team. KIRO’s broadcasts up to the midpoint of the season drew a 15.0 rating in the region. The Baltimore Orioles (14.6) and Cleveland Indians (14.3) are the only other teams that have a rating in their area better than 14.0.
The Mariners’ attendance numbers are more astounding. Since the magical 1995 playoff season, attendance at the Kingdome has risen 73 percent. The next largest increase in that time is that of the Texas Rangers (38 percent), who have a new stadium to thank for much of the increase.
Attendance is up 19 percent from last season and the Mariners are currently on pace to draw over 3,000,000 fans for the first time in franchise history. Average attendance through Wednesday was 38,739.
And on the Buhner front, Buzz Night continues to be one of the strangest but most successful promotions in baseball.
In 1994, 512 Buhner faithful had their heads shaved for a free outfield ticket. Thursday, 3,436 fans lined up to face the razor. Small children to senior citizens and even 46 women sat down for the buzz.
Reliever Norm Charlton even got a buzz, perhaps hoping it might change his luck.
To make room for Thursday’s starter Edwin Hurtado, the Mariners outrighted right-handed reliever Josias Manzanillo to Tacoma.
Manzanillo, who was 1-0 with a 5.40 earned-run average in 16 games with Seattle, likely won’t report to Class AAA, though, and will elect to become a free agent instead.
Did you know?
The easiest way to get Ken Griffey Jr. out is to go to a three-ball, no-strike count. Griffey hits just .200 - 2 for 10 with one home run and 11 walks - on 3-0 counts. Of the 14 strikes Griffey has seen on 3-0 pitches, he has taken one and swung at 13, resulting in four outs and nine foul balls. Griffey’s best count? On 1-0 pitches, he’s hit .324 with 16 home runs.
In Russ they trust
When Russ Davis won Wednesday night’s game with a two-run ninth-inning hit, it was the third time this season and second time in a week he had won a game in the Mariners final at bat. Davis has slowly moved up among the team leaders in several offensive categories and is becoming a fan favorite as “In Russ We Trust” and on other signs.
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