Baseball 101 for Phemale Phillies Phans

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ESPN’s Amanda Rykoff went down to Citizens Bank Park last week to check out the “Baseball 101” program the Phillies have put on for female fans the past several years.  As she reports, it’s kind of a misnomer, because the program is not about educating allegedly uninitiated women about the basics of baseball.  No, it’s much cooler and respectful of their phanatical phans:

This day is an opportunity for the passionate, knowledgeable female fans who make up nearly half of the Phillies’ fan base to experience an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the team they follow so loyally, with some female bonding and a lot of fun along the way. There are no rudimentary explanations of balls and strikes, double plays or RBI. Not a single pink hat or T-shirt was spotted among the 147 participants.

These women know their WHIP and their OPS. And they love the game of baseball as much as they love their team.

Baserunning clinics put on by Juan Samuel. Bullpen sessions with Rich Dubee. Very cool stuff that I’m guessing most of us, male or female, would love to do if given the opportunity.

Good reading. Check it out.

UPDATE: Chris F.’s first comment made me ashamed of myself. I’m sorry I failed everyone by not baiting Phillies fans here.  Let me make amends:  I do have one question about the Baseball 101 program, however: who do they have teaching the clinic about irrationally thinking that Ryan Howard is an MVP-caliber hitter? That has to be part of the bill, right?

Ahhhhh. That’s better.

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.