Report: Chipper Jones tore his ACL, out for the year. Maybe forever

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Well, @$#!&%.

Sports radio station 790 The Zone is reporting that Chipper Jones has a torn ACL and that he’ll be out for the year.  Obviously this is distressing to me. But not for the obvious reason.

Yes, losing Chipper Jones — who has been back to his old All-Star self since June — is a big blow to the Braves’ 2010 playoff hopes.  But the Phillies are going to get Utley, Victorino and Howard back, Billy Wagner looks shaky lately, Jonny Venters has been used so much that his arm is going to fall off soon, and Brooks Conrad hitting pinch-hit grand slams is not exactly a strategic plan on which you’d bet the mortgage.  The point is with Chipper or without him, there were no guarantees that the Braves were going to win the division.

No, the distressing thing about this is that there’s a good chance that Jones’ career ended crumpled on the turf of Minute Maid Park and not with a tip of his hat in Atlanta on the final day of the season (or, wish upon wish, the playoffs).  And it may be over. Jones has hinted strongly at retirement, and that was even without the prospect of a painful rehab.

The only thing making me feel at all good about this is that, if this is the end of Jones’ career — a career in which he was frequently and often unfairly maligned for his defense — it ended on a spectacular defensive play. That pick, jump and throw he made was a thing of beauty, and I’ll always remember it even if I want to block the landing out of my mind.

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.