Last month Joe Torre was said to be “leaning toward” taking a job with Major League Baseball and now Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that commissioner Bud Selig will officially announce tomorrow that Torre has joined MLB as executive vice president for baseball operations.
According to Heyman he’ll be “overseeing on-field activity for MLB” in a role previously filled by Sandy Alderson, who left the job to take over as the Mets’ general manager this offseason.
Torre, who announced with two weeks remaining on the schedule that he’d be stepping down as Dodgers manager following last season, has been a big-league manager for each of the past 21 seasons and the 71-year-old future Hall of Famer has a total of 29 seasons of managing experience. Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Torre will be working out of New York rather than staying in Los Angeles.
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.