I didn’t mention this in the recaps this morning because I was too busy being clever about a 14-10 final score, but Evan Longoria had a huge game yesterday, going 4 for 6 with two homers and five RBI. He had a huge weekend, in fact, getting eight hits, three homers and 10 RBI against the Astros.
The interesting thing about it: he did it without batting gloves. It’s something he did in his rookie year, but not since. You can probably count the guys in baseball who don’t wear gloves on one hand. One, stinging, blistered, achy hand. It hurts my hands just thinking about it.
And don’t give me that “they used to do it back in the olden days and it was just fine” jive. They used to put mercury on scraped knees, let kids take baths in DDT and give people lobotomies as a cure for depression too, but that doesn’t make it any better. We’re civilized now, dammit, and we wear batting gloves.
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.