The Washington Times - April 21, 2009, 11:21AM

If you were in the stadium at the end of last night’s Nationals game, email me. I’d love to talk to you, because you are truly a die-hard.

I wasn’t at Nationals Park, but from what I saw on TV, you could probably count the number of people in the seats. Our Mark Zuckerman said there were about 70 people left at the end. It was truly a miserable night for baseball and the long rain delay didn’t help.

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If I were the team, however, I’d be more worried about that paid attendance figure of 12,473. That’s a figure that includes all season tickets and advance sales, and it’s an awfully low number even if you assume that not one single person walked up and bought a ticket at the box office.

Let’s assume for argument’s sake that no one bought a ticket in advance of last night’s game and no one walked up. Let’s assume that all of the paid attendance came from season ticket holders alone. That would mean that the Nationals season ticket base is 12,473, or about 6,000 less than last year, a 33% percent drop. (In fact, it’s probably even a steeper decline than that, given the 11,864 announced for the Nats-Orioles exhibition game on April 4.)

Now we know why Nationals President Stan Kasten declined to discuss ticket sales prior to the season as he has done in the past.

Yes, the luster of the new ballpark has worn off. Yes, the team is not winning a ton of games. Yes, the economy has hurt a lot of people. But a drop of that maghntude is pretty striking, especially when you consider that the team lowered prices almost across the board prior to this season.