Sorry, been reading more of those “baseball is dying” columns, and they just force you to think that way. If you’re a glass-is-half-full guy, however, it was a pretty good year attendance wise for baseball:
Major League Baseball finished the 2013 regular season with an attendance of 74,026,895, the sixth highest total of all-time, it was announced today … In 2,426 dates this season, MLB averaged 30,514 fans per game. MLB’s 2013 total trails only the four-year span from 2005-2008 and last year’s total of 74,859,268.
There’s always spin to this sort of press release, of course. Here MLB talks about its second half surge and the fact that there were a lot of rainouts. Still, attendance was down a skinch, with pretty a precipitous decline in Miami helping drive things south.
That said, attendance is still strong, especially compared to historic levels. The worst draw was the Tampa Bay Rays, who drew 1.5 million. The days when multiple teams drew less than a million a year are long gone. At the gate, things are pretty good.
Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.
Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.
J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.
This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.