Mike Stanton starts his spring with a bang

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The Marlins’ Mike Stanton is a beast, but he’s been a sidelined beast this spring, battling a leg injury. He made his spring debut yesterday, however, and he murdered baseballs:

Stanton not only left his indelible mark on the scoreboard — a tape-measure line-drive shot that traveled an estimated 500 feet — but also the Boston Red Sox and a sellout crowd at Roger Dean Stadium.

Stanton smashed two home runs on the afternoon, and when he was lifted for a pinch runner after knocking in his seventh run of the afternoon with a sharp single to center, many in the pro-Red Sox crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Because he’s a Marlin he doesn’t get as much press as guys like Jason Heyward or Buster Posey, but in many ways, there may not have been a more auspicious debt last season than Mike Stanton’s, even if a lot of people didn’t realize it at the time.  He may take some time to figure out the strike zone — he struck out 123 times in 100 games last year — but lord have mercy does that young man have power.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.