The Mariners release Eric Byrnes

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Eric Byrnes 2.jpgThe Seattle Mariners released outfielder Eric Byrnes after yesterday’s game against the Rangers. Partially due to ineffectiveness, partially due to plain old weirdness.

The ineffectiveness: Byrnes was three for 32 on the season.

The weirdness: the play on Friday night in which he pulled his bat back on a suicide squeeze, causing Ichiro to get nailed at the plate in the Mariners’ 2-0 loss. He bolted the clubhouse on his bicycle mere minutes after that game, avoiding the media and his general manager, Jack Zduriencik. Also the fact that he didn’t take the bat off his shoulder for three straight pitches with the bases loaded in the
fourth inning yesterday. He’s basically been like Richie Tenenbaum at the U.S. Nationals out there.

I have to guess that the weirdness is why he was released. I mean really, the Mariners are putting up with near-zero in terms of contributions from Ken Griffey and Mike Sweeney, so it’s not like they have an official requirement that their DHs and backup outfielders actually be able to hit or anything. 

But if you’re gonna be useless at the plate, you had better be a good citizen and at least look like you’re trying out there.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.