Spring training attendance is down 14%

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When I was in Arizona the weekend games were packed and there were plenty of seats available during the week. Seemed normal, but apparently not so much: according to STATS, Inc., spring training attendance is off 14% so far.

There are several reasons. Games started a week earlier this year. There were a lot of rain delays and rainouts, even in Arizona. The World Baseball Classic games had to have some negative impact as well.

The linked story notes high ticket prices too. This is something I’ve wondered about. Each year I go I make a point to go to at least one game as a ticketed customer as opposed to a credentialed scribe. This year it seemed like the tickets cost a heck of a lot more than usual. Next year: lawn seats and sunscreen.

 

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.