Tim McCarver wins the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence

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This tweet from Major League Baseball speaks for itself, so I’ll just let it speak:

Tim McCarver selected as recipient of Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by [The Baseball Hall of Fame].

Fine, go ahead and say what you want to say. I’ll defend McCarver, though.  While he hasn’t been at the top of his game for the past few years, he was a pretty fantastic color man for a long, long time and went a long way towards upping the intelligence of the discourse.

If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is.  “Yeah, he really smoked that one,” passed for insight for a lot of guys back then. It seems obvious now, but McCarver’s ability to explain what is going to happen next and why was arguably revolutionary for the position.

My personal preference is a single-man booth. But I’m not necessarily the audience to whom a color commentator is aimed.  For those who do want a little more explanatory framework with their baseball viewing, McCarver has set a standard of sorts over his career, and is worthy of being honored.

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.