Tim Hudson against Philly in a must-win game 162? Been there, done that

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First, the quote of the day from Mark Bradley of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

“Tim Hudson in the 162nd game. A team could do worse. For example: Derek Lowe in the 161st game …”

Yup.  And we know this is true for reasons beyond the fact that Lowe, on general principles, sucks.  We know that because the Braves were in the exact same position last year.  They had a big lead — though a softer, earlier one — for a playoff spot in 2010.  They blew it. Less of a collapse than it was Philly remembering that they were good and overtaking them, but they blew the lead regardless.  They stumbled on offense down the stretch and then, on the final game of the season, they needed a win from Tim Hudson against a Philly team with nothing to play for in order to secure a playoff spot.

The result last year: an 8-7 win over Philly, with Tim Hudson picking up the win after giving up four runs in seven innings. As will likely be the case tonight, last year Charlie Manuel used the game to give multiple starters some work. Cole Hamels pitched two innings. Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt each pitched an inning. There’s no Danys Baez around this year to blow it like he did last year, but Manuel will likely give multiple bullpen arms some work.

Like they say in the mutual fund ads, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But the fact is, the Braves have been here before.

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.