Believe it or not, the regular season starts tomorrow

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There’s more than a week of games left in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues, but that’s not stopping the A’s and the Mariners from kicking off the regular season tomorrow. Yup, early, early tomorrow morning — at least on U.S. time — Seattle and Oakland will play a game that counts in the standings and the stat leaderboards. And a second one on Thursday. They’re in Tokyo, of course.

Personally, I don’t mind that the season is starting in Tokyo.  A ballpark is a ballpark and even if it’s not in this country, it’s still baseballs thrown in real anger.  I do take issue, however, with it starting while there are still tons of meaningless spring training games to be played. It’s just … disorienting.

Opening Day should mark the unequivocal beginning of something. A loud shout that baseball is here and all is, once again, right with the world.  It shouldn’t feel like a soft opening at some new restaurant. And that’s kind of how I feel about the A’-s Mariners series.

Yes, I’ll pay attention. And I’ll even write up a couple of And That Happeneds for the games seeing as though they actually count.  But don’t expect me to gt all Opening Day-y about it, because it doesn’t feel quite right.

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.