Jorge Posada belongs in Cooperstown

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Yesterday, Rob Neyer said this in the course of trying to identify the best catcher this decade:

So it’s Posada vs. Rodriguez in a fight to the finish. And while the
finish won’t be until October of 2009, I have a hard time believing
that Pudge can do enough in the next four months — or has done enough
with his glove and arm over the last nine seasons — to make up for
that 16-point gap in OPS+.

Ivan Rodriguez is going into the Hall of Fame. Posada isn’t, and shouldn’t; he just happens to have played the lion’s share of his fine career in a single decade.

In response, Jonah Keri mounts a defense of Posada’s Hall of Fame case:

Jorge Posada, to me, looks like a clear choice as one of the dozen
best catchers of all-time . . . I absolutely think a [Hall of Fame]
case can be made for Posada, even if he retired tomorrow . . . It’s a
shame that Posada can’t elicit more enthusiasm for his accomplishments.
Here’s hoping, nine years from now, that the other voting members of
the BBWAA are kinder to Posada than Rob will be.

It sort of kills things for me to know that Rob and Jonah are friends,
because I think it would be fun to have a nasty fight over this. As it
is, they’ll probably just marshall evidence and arguments. Oh well.

In any event, I’m leaning more to Jonah’s side of things here,
though I don’t agree that Posada would go in if he retired tomorrow.
His case is really a Carlton Fisk-style case, and my sense was that
people didn’t truly appreciate Fisk as a Hall of Famer until the
longevity portion of the argument really kicked in during his years in
Chicago. Posada has no MVP awards like Rodriguez and was never the
hitter Piazza was, but he has been a clearly above-average, and
oftentimes excellent catcher who is aging well. He’ll also get a bump
for the World Series rings which, while not as important to a Hall of
Fame case as many think it is, isn’t unimportant. Mostly though, I
think people will look back at the Yankees teams of the 90s and 2000s
and ask themselves who is worthy of induction from that crew. Torre,
Jeter and Rivera should be no-brainers. I think most will agree that
more than just those three were responsible for the extended run of
greatness. When looking to add a name or two to that list, Posada’s is
the best available in my view, and on that basis, he goes in.

Is that the most scientific reason for putting someone in the Hall
of Fame? Nah. But if we’ve learned anything over the years it’s that
Hall of Fame voting isn’t very scientific. I’ve grudgingly accepted
that, so I think I’m entitled to use a little non-scientific argument
of my own. On that basis, Jorge makes it.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.