MLB attendance is up 6.7% so far this year

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Baseball is Dead Alert!  From MLB’s press office:

Major League Baseball recorded the highest-attended pre-Memorial Day weekend in history by drawing 1,652,935 fans for this weekend’s 45 games, it was announced today.  The total this weekend, which featured the first 42 Interleague games of the season, eclipsed the previous mark of 1,640,976 (May 19th-21st, 2006) …

… Overall, Major League Baseball has drawn 18,637,924 fans this season through 617 dates (30,207 per game), representing a 6.7 percent increase over the same point in the 2011 season.

Attendance up. TV ratings up.  I tell ya, with all of this good news, I would expect only a dozen or two “baseball is dying” articles written by non-baseball writers this fall as opposed to the usual three-score or so.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.