July 4th means a great many things to a Americans. When you live in Greeneville, Tennessee here are a few of the things that it means beyond the typical patriotic meanings shared by the rest of America.
1. Local eating options are reduced. This is the week every year locals should start diets because The Sandwich House, Peggy Ann's Bakery, and The Bean Barn all close down for a weeks vacation. Other local businesses do the same, including my barber and I could really use a trim.
2. Big Fireworks Show at the Astros game. Ever since the Astros came to town, the only big fireworks show around the 4th has been done by the Astros. No more fireworks at the fair grounds.
3. The season's attendance totals are impacted by how the Astros do in their July 4th fireworks game. You think I am kidding about this? Look at the numbers:
2005 Astros win 2-1 - season attendance is up from 2004 to 49,963.
2006 Astros win 11-3 - season attendance climbs again from 2005 to 51,633.
2007 Astros killed 14-1 - season attendance drops to 51,425.
2008 Astros win 3-0 - season attendance rebounds to 51,806 despite finishing 5th in the Appy West.
2009 Astros lose 13-8 - season attendance plummets to 49,293.
2010 Astros lose 0-4 - season attendance falls further to 47,321.
Make no mistake this is a correlation, not a causation issue. But I believe what happens on the big fireworks night matters for the rest of the year. For many casual fans, it is their first night out to see the Astros. When the Astros have a poor showing, those fans are less likely to return. When they play well, those fans are more likely to show up again.
The fact that the G-Astros have lead the league every year of their existence is a testament to the good job the front office staff and game day staff do to make the games a pleasant experience. After a record crowd and a win, it looks like the G-Stros are out to make it 8 years in a row!