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.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.