Barry Zito got another start and it went poorly … again

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It looked like Barry Zito had pitched his way out of the Giants’ rotation for the final time last week, but instead they gave him another start last night and he lost on the road again.

Zito was yanked after four innings against the Padres, allowing four runs while dropping to 0-9 with a 9.25 ERA in road games this season. He’s one month away from the Giants buying out his 2014 option for $8 million and saying goodbye to Zito after paying him $126 million, but manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he won’t be dropped from the roster:

We pull for him, believe me. I can’t tell you how much we pull for him. He’s a good teammate. What he did for us last year, you hate to see him go through this.  One thing about Barry: I know the results haven’t been good, but he’s all-in in his preparation and his effort. It’s just been a rough go, especially on the road.

As for his spot in the rotation, at some point you’d think being a nice guy and pitching for successful teams would take a backseat to being really, really awful. But who knows.

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.