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One of baseball’s biggest stars, Albert Pujols, has been described as the face of the Cardinals. But even in his case, the marketing strategy in St. Louis is to draw attention to the success of the team.

“The cover of our media guide is a perfect example,” said Dan Farrell, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “In 2009, we won the NL Central, so that championship logo was on our media guide. Albert Pujols was the NL MVP - he’s on the cover of our media guide. Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright both won Gold Gloves - they’re on the cover of the media guide. Chris Carpenter won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award - he’s on the media guide. And Whitey Herzog, our manager from the ‘80s, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in that offseason, and he’s on the cover.”

Few franchises have had better attendance over the years than the Cardinals. St. Louis has drawn more than 3 million fans every season since 1987, excluding the strike-shortened 1994. It also boasts a tradition success, including six playoff appearances and one World Series title in the past 10 seasons. As long as fans expect wins, the Cardinals will continue to fill Busch Stadium.

The Nationals have worked toward building a competitive franchise, and they have complemented on-field improvements by upgrading other aspects of the ballpark. In response to fan requests for a wider variety of dining options, the park offers vegetarian and gluten-free options in addition to more traditional fare. On Saturdays, bands perform on the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk before the game.

Feffer said the Nationals will continue to respond to fan feedback.

“The ability each year to address those wants and desires, to bring something new and fresh to the park, to talk about changing menus but still have the basic ballpark fare, is important,” Feffer said. “This is one of the ways to stand out.”

For a team to draw fans, it must be able to market a ballpark experience that is worth the money and time. The Cleveland Indians’ ability to communicate their appeal led to a then-major league record 455 consecutive sellouts between 1995 and 2001.

“Baseball’s all about connection to the people you’re with, all about connection to the field,” Indians president Mark Shapiro said. “The atmosphere and environment at a baseball game - while it still can be followed on television, the experience cannot be re-created in someone’s living room.”

Cleveland’s success in selling tickets can be attributed to a new stadium, Jacobs Field, that opened in 1994, and a run of six playoff appearances in seven years. Since the sellout streak ended in 2001, the Indians have made the playoffs once, although they are contending for the AL Central title. They drew an average of only 21,106 last year.

In Washington, the ballpark and the team have upgraded continually. The Nationals have played like a playoff team at times this season, particularly during a stretch in June when they won 12 of 13 games. The players, during that run, expected a victory. With the star power of Strasburg added to a talented core next year, fans will “Expect It” too.

When they do, Nationals Park hopes to see new highs in win totals and at the turnstiles.