Buck Showalter’s Orioles won last night. And so doing gave him his 250th win with Baltimore.
Showalter’s career feels weird. Most managers get a shot or two. If they get more than a couple of shots some of those later jobs are at the helm on an interim basis or as a caretaker manager while the organization waits for the team to be competitive. It’s not often you see a guy get more than a couple shots at teams with which he is expected to be the guy to help build the team or teams that are on the upswing. You get maybe two jobs with a future in this business. Everything beyond those two shots are basically short gigs.
But Showalter has, um. bucked that trend, having been given jobs with a future in New York, Texas, Arizona and Baltimore. And in so doing he joins a pretty small club of managers who have amassed 250 wins or more with four teams. Besides Showalter, only Joe Torre, Gene Mauch and Dick Williams.
Nice job, Buck.
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.