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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.