Interleague attendance is spectacular, announces MLB PR apparatus


It’s been a very press-releasy day at MLB. Just got another one touting interlague play:

Major League Baseball drew 8,468,620 fans during Interleague games this season for an average of 33,606 per game. The 2011 Interleague average is 18.2 percent higher than this season’s current intraleague average of 28,421 per game. Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn 12.0 percent more fans than intraleague games; Interleague Play has averaged 33,285 fans per game, compared to the intraleague average of 29,716 fans per game during the same span.

There are clearly some appealing interleague matchups that drive that attendance difference. Yankees-Cubs and a host of cross-town and rivalry series are legitimate draws, and the overall marketability of much of the interleague schedule is undeniable.

At the same time, these differences are partly the product of apples-oranges comparisons, as those intraleague numbers are weighted more toward the earlier, cold, rainy part of the season and don’t have the benefit of holiday weekends like interpleague play got. One figures that, if the timing of the interleague and intraleague slates were tweaked a bit, the differences would not be as stark.

Mostly, one just wonders if it’s possible to keep the great interleague matchups while dispensing with the less-appealing ones — Seattle vs. San Diego, anyone? — in favor of more matchups that have a more direct impact on division races.  I kind of doubt it, but I’d like to spend more time thinking critically about interleague play and scheduling issues and less time going all rah-rah with it.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.