MLB attendance is up seven percent over last year

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The season continues to be a good one at the box office for Major League Baseball, as the league just announced that attendance is up seven percent over last year through the same number of games.

That’s an average of 2000 extra fans a game over last season. Overall, 21 of 30 teams have seen increases. Thirteen teams have already broke one million in attendance.

Guesses as to the reasons: more teams in contention, including teams that have not been as good in the past finally giving their fans a reason to show up.  Also: way fewer rainouts this year, meaning way fewer sparsely-attended makeup games and better gameday walkup traffic due to the better weather.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.