Jason Isringhausen notches his 300th save

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Jason Isringhausen saved the Mets victory over the Padres last night. It was save number 300 for his career. No, it’s not quite as impressive as Jim Thome hitting his 600th homer, but a round number is a round number, right?

Like so many top closers, Isringhausen began his major league life as a starter. That didn’t work out for him, of course, and he was converted into a full time closer just as the Mets gave up on him and shipped him to Oakland in the middle of the 1999 season. From there he had a nice nine-season run, closing games for the A’s and, most significantly, the Cardinals. At times he was dominant, but only at times. He racked up a lot of saves with some good Cardinals teams.

The past few years have been rough for Isringhausen. Arm troubles, including his third Tommy John surgery looked to have ended his career. He missed most of 2009 and never made the majors in 2010 as he tried to come back.  This season he has been a shadow of his former self for the Mets, though a friendly and welcome shadow, closing out his career where it began and, apparently anyway, hanging around to see the save odometer flip to 300.

And I have no problem with that.  The Mets aren’t contending and he’s not crowding out any young stud. If the Mets are simply giving him a chance to hit a milestone, well, in this case good for the Mets.  It’s important to Isringhausen and there is enough good will out there for him that it’s important to a non-trivial number of fans.  Good for him. And for them.

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.