White Sox tab Chris Sale as Opening Day starter

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Via ESPN’s Bruce Levine, as the title suggests:

Robin Ventura names Chris Sale opening day starter.

Jake Peavy was the other candidate for the honor, but wholeheartedly endorsed sale. Peavy said, “Chris is the best pitcher on the team. Your best guy goes opening day.”

Sale, who turns 24 years old in two weeks, finished the 2012 season (his first as a starting pitcher) with a 3.05 ERA and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting. The lefty, listed at 6’6″, 180, is said to have added 10-15 pounds over the off-season.

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.