Major League Baseball issued a press release a few minutes ago touting attendance numbers, and there was much to tout.
Overall attendance is up 8.1% over last year, and last year was among the biggest years for attendance all time. The last eight years have been the highest eight-year stretch for attendance in baseball history.
Interleague play is certainly helping drive this, as this year’s slate posted the third highest attendance totals since the advent of the beast, and represented a 15.8% increase over intraleague games. Usually it draws around 12% more than intraleague games.
Reasons for all of this? Probably a combination. A ton of teams are still very much in contention, particularly some teams who have not been in recent years like the Nationals, Orioles and Pirates. The new park in Miami. Great weather all season long.
For baseball, it’s all good.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.