Prince Fielder homers three times, ties Matt Kemp for NL lead

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Prince Fielder took Pirates pitchers deep three times Tuesday to drive in five of the Brewers’ runs in a 6-4 victory.

The outburst moved Fielder into a tie with Matt Kemp atop the NL home run leaderboard.  Both have 38, one more of Albert Pujols in third place.

It’s the ninth three-homer game this season and the third by a Brewer.  Corey Hart hit three homers against the Nationals on May 23, and Casey McGehee had the season’s most recent three-homer game, pulling off the feat Aug. 3 against the Cardinals.

Fielder is now alone in second place in the NL with 120 RBI, four behind Kemp.  He entered the day tied with Ryan Howard.

If Fielder can at least stay even with Kemp on Wednesday, he’d have his second NL home run crown.  He led the league with 50 homers as a 23-year-old in 2007.

Fielder is also looking for his first .300 season.  Tonight’s performance pushed his average up to .299.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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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.