Last night the Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. Paid attendance: 25,566.
That’d be fine for some teams — nine teams are averaging less than that per game so far this year — but it was a dubious record for the Yankees. Indeed, it was their smallest home crowd since they moved into the new Yankee Stadium back in 2009 and their smallest crowd overall since 2004.
For the season, the Yankees are averaging 35,588, which is the sixth best in baseball. Last year they were sixth best in baseball for the whole season, averaging 37,819. It’s early in the year and attendance ticks up when the weather gets nicer and school is out, so it’s likely they’re going to do about as well as they did last season. Or better if they continue their recent hot run and contend deeply into the season.
But it does show that a couple of years as only a marginal contender and a lot of new faces causes some people to stay away. In this the Yankees are like every other team, none of which has any guarantee of full or near-full houses. There is only one guarantee: win, and people come.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.