Out since mid-May with a fractured hand, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong is expected to come off the disabled list and pitch Friday against the Orioles.
Even before the injury Vogelsong’s rotation spot may have been in jeopardy because he posted a 7.09 ERA in nine starts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much patience the Giants show if he struggles initially. He’s essentially taking over Barry Zito’s spot after the highly paid left-hander was bumped from the rotation over the weekend.
Vogelsong had a 1.72 ERA in four minor-league rehab starts to convince the Giants he was ready to return. He had a combined 3.05 ERA in 2011 and 2012, but at age 35 he may need a good stretch run for the Giants to pick up their $6.25 million option for 2014.
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.