As far as the calendar goes we are now halfway through Opening Day. Only two more days of it left! And there are day baseball games today. More than one! And in this country! The rundown:
- Boston at Detroit 1:00 PM: Lester vs Verlander
- Atlanta at NY Mets 1:10 PM: Hanson vs Santana
- Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 1:35 PM: Halladay vs Bedard
- Washington at Chicago Cubs 2:20 PM: Strasburg vs Dempster
- Toronto at Cleveland 3:05 PM: Romero vs Masterson
- Miami at Cincinnati 4:00 PM: Buehrle vs Cueto
- LA Dodgers at San Diego 7:05 PM: Kershaw vs Volquez
Lester vs. Verlander seems like fun, though I will obviously be watching the Braves-Mets game. Also interested in seeing Strasburg pitch. even after all this time he still seems exciting, no?
Anyway, strap in. Baseball in real volume is finally here.
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.