The Astrodome will apparently continue to rust and crumble to nothingness

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The Houston Astrodome has sat empty for years and has been without a professional sports team since the Astros moved out 13 years ago. It has been considered “uninhabitable” for over three years, with its last use coming as a refugee center for Hurricane Katrina victims. The county still owes $30 million in construction debt on the nearly 50 year-old structure and has to pay a couple million a year for basic upkeep. Meanwhile, the cost to demolish it is thought to be upwards of $70 million. Renovating it for some use or another will be a couple hundred million.  It’s a disaster, frankly.

And it’s a disaster that won’t be resolved anytime soon:

The dilemma of the deteriorating Houston Astrodome remained unresolved Tuesday with the passing of a deadline to put a bond referendum before voters in May. Harris County commissioners took no action on the ballot initiative to raise millions of dollars to do something with the 48-year-old vacant stadium. But no one’s really sure what to do with it.

A similar deadline last year to put the question before voters in November also came and went.

“We have waited for ideas for years and years on the dome,” Commissioner Steve Radack told The Houston Chronicle. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we wait years and years more before something happens.”

Eighth Wonders of the World ain’t what they used to be.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.