Attendance is down across baseball this year. On average it’s down on the order of a few hundred a game. In Los Angeles, however, things are way worse: 7,268 fans a game off the 2010 pace for the Dodgers. And, as Steve Dilbeck reminds us, that’s just in official attendance, not actual turnstile numbers, which Major League Baseball doesn’t report. Dodger Stadium has looked way emptier than the numbers suggest.
Dillbeck suspects, based on comments to his blog, that there’s a fan boycott afoot related to the McCourt fiasco. I’m somewhat skeptical simply because fan boycotts rarely if ever gain real traction, even if organized and endorsed by influential media voices (ask the talk radio people who tried to organize them with respect to the Mets and the Detroit Lions in recent years). Yes, I’m sure there are some people avoiding games in Los Angeles because of their McCourt distaste, but I bet the pall cast Bryan Stow beating, the unexciting hot stove season for the Dodgers and the middling-at-best prospects for the playoffs this year have more to do with it.
But whether there truly is a boycott or not, I totally whiffed on a grandstanding opportunity. After I wrote something about the McCourts last winter, one of my best friends sent me an email in which he — half-jokingly, but not really — suggested that I try to organize an anti-McCourt Dodgers’ boycott. I think he had the best interests of my media profile in greater mind than the fate of the Dodgers, but man, if I had listened to him and done a half dozen posts arguing for such a boycott and maybe printing up t-shirts and stuff I could totally be claiming credit for the plunge in Dodgers attendance so far this year. And now I could be issuing demands and getting phat talking head gigs on TV.
Sigh. Lost opportunities.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.