It was bound to happen at some point. That point was Monday night.
A crowd of 41,665 attended the Braves-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, snapping the franchise's sellout streak of 257 regular-season games -- a streak dating all the way back to July 6, 2009.
"You kind of knew it was going to happen," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said an hour after Monday's 6-1 loss. "You would hope that it wouldn't. You would hope that one bad season wouldn't break it up, especially after the five winning seasons that we had and division championships.
"But that's the way it goes. People aren't going to spend money and come to the game if they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. And this year we've been a little short."
Rollins remembers playing in front of sparse crowds at Veterans Stadium. So being part of this streak is something he'll always cherish.
"It was a heck of a run," Rollins said. "We had fun. I know I go out every night and the first thing I do is look up and see how many seats are empty at the beginning of the game. And by the third inning, I see how many of those seats are filled. It was something we came to expect, really. That's a lot of baseball games. There's been a lot of winning in that time. Hopefully, they enjoyed it as much as we did."
The Phillies' 257 straight sellouts is the longest in the National League and the third-longest in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox lead the way with 772 consecutive sellouts, while the Indians sold out 455 straight from 1995-01.
"I've been to about five or 10 games a season since the World Series season of 2008, and it's been awesome," said Joanne Pinsner, of South Jersey, who added that she's been a Phillies fan since the late 1970s. "I've seen ups and downs through the years. During this sellout streak, the electricity was incredible. It's been a tough year, but I'm confident we'll be back and doing great again."
Manager Charlie Manuel has a career record of 695-548 since taking over in 2005. He has guided the club to five straight NL East titles, two trips to the World Series and one world title.
"It's kind of up to us to make sure we get our team together and get better, and get our crowd back," he said. "I'm sure we can."
It’s alumni weekend at the ballpark
The Phillies will welcome some old friends back to town this weekend.
Mike Lieberthal will be inducted into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame before Friday’s game (ceremony set for 6:50 p.m.). He’ll be joined by legends Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
The team is also hosting a Tailgate Tent Party on Saturday night, when fans can pay $125 per person to party (5:30-7 p.m.) with former Phillies Darren Daulton and Pat Burrell.