Interleague play starts this weekend, as does the puffery regarding its attendance impact

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Just got the press release from MLB announcing the beginning of interleague play this weekend. As usual, the league touts the attendance boost it brings:

Interleague Play drew 8,468,620 fans in 2011, averaging 33,606 fans per game.  The average 2011 Interleague attendance was 12.1 percent higher than the season’s final intraleague average of 29,985.  Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn an average of 33,285 fans per game, which is 11.8 percent higher than the intraleague average of 29,774 during the same span.

They always leave out the fact that interlegaue play is disproportionately centered (a) on weekends; and (b) in warm weather months.  I’d like to see how a Mariners-Rockies series would draw on a Wednesday in April, but I guess we won’t know how that works until next season.

Oh well. We’re way past complaining about this.  Matchups this upcoming weekend that seem fun, with the home team listed second:  White Sox-Cubs, Orioles-Nationals, Red Sox-Phillies and the Braves-Rays.  Actually, a series I’m most looking forward to this weekend is an intraleague thing: Cardinals-Dodgers.

Play ball.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.