Yankees stretch lead to 2-0 over Orioles in Game 5

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The Yankees have given CC Sabathia a little breathing room. Ichiro Suzuki doubled home Derek Jeter in the bottom of the sixth inning to stretch the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.

Jeter drew a one-out walk and scored all the way from first base after Suzuki put one into the right-center field gap. Robinson Cano struck out looking and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked before Troy Patton replaced Jason Hammel to get Raul Ibanez to striking out swinging for the final out of the inning.

Of course, there’s a compelling case to be made that the Orioles should already be on the board. Nate McLouth hit a long fly ball along the right field line in the top of the sixth inning that landed very close to the foul pole. It was ruled foul on the field, but the play was reviewed after Buck Showalter went out to argue. However, the umpires quickly emerged to confirm the original call. It’s possible that the ball could have nicked the foul pole — and in fact, one usher told Craig Sager of TBS that it did indeed hit the pole — but there’s no definitive evidence yet. On a side note, that usher could be looking for a new job soon.

And so, it’s 2-0 Yankees as we move to the top of the seventh.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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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.