Based on how it was teased by the reader who emailed it to me, I kept reading this article about Dodgers’ attendance figures, waiting for something scandalous to come out. There really isn’t anything like that, but it’s an interesting read about the business of ticket sales and attendance anyway. The upshot: the Dodgers sell a lot of tickets, but they have a lot of no-shows too and it paints a somewhat deceptive picture of how they’re doing at the gate.
But there were some interesting tidbits in the piece. For instance, the Dodgers have lost 14% of their season-ticket base in the past two years. This despite the fact that the team has made the playoffs. I’m assuming every team is down due to the economy — and I wish we had a baseline for other teams’ losses in the article — but my gut reaction to that is that it’s high for a team that has been winning.
The other thing that was interesting was that, while the Blue Jays are always cited as the first team to sell 4 million tickets, the Dodgers actually did it in 1982, a decade earlier than the Jays did. Except back then then NL counted attendance based on how many people actually went through the turnstiles, not on tickets sold as the Jays did in 1992 and all teams do now.
The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.
Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.
Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.
While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.
“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”