Don’t count the Giants out on Carlos Beltran yet

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Apparently satisfied with the state of their outfield following the recent acquisition of Melky Cabrera, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported last week that the Giants were no longer expected to attempt to bring back Carlos Beltran. It sounded pretty ridiculous at the time and fortunately for Giants fans, that’s not necessarily the case.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Giants are still in the market for an outfielder and Beltran is at the top of their list.

The market for Beltran has been strangely quiet in the first couple of weeks of the Hot Stove season. The Red Sox are expected to pursue him, but they are busy attempting to re-sign David Ortiz right now. And we heard something about the Marlins the other day, but let’s be honest, they are in on pretty much everybody and it’s pretty difficult to say whether they are actually serious about any of them. Beltran is one of the top free agents out there, so business should pick up as we get closer to the Winter Meetings next month.

Beltran, who turns 35 in April, batted .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers, 84 RBI and a .910 OPS over 598 plate appearances this season, including a .323/.369/.551 batting line over 44 games with San Francisco.

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.