In Missouri, opium not as bad as steroids

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Let this be a lesson to you children: If you take steroids, you will never have a highway named after you.

In the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission that he took performance enhancing drugs, the Missouri Senate has decided that the stretch of I-70 in St. Louis – which runs near a stadium named after a beer company, by the way – should no longer be known as Mark McGwire Highway.

The bill, which would also name sections of other highways after noted (and presumably non-doping) Missourians, was passed by unanimous vote on Monday. It will now move to the House to waste yet more taxpayer dollars.

The hard part of this whole endeavor, of course, will be deciding whose names to put on all these highways.

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia asked if those getting the honors were alive or dead. Schaefer says it might be wise to name roads only for the deceased, because they can’t do something worth changing the name over one day.

So there is a ray of hope for McGwire should he turn his life around in his remaining days on Earth. It’s also a practical plan, as dead people rarely go out of their way to ruin reputations, including their own.

The Senate proposes that the McGwire Highway should instead be named after Mark Twain, the legendary and beloved writer who was … ummm … also known to … err … frequent opium dens in San Francisco.

*Awkward silence*

Uh oh. Crap. Now what? Don’t tell anyone about that.

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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.