People got mad at A.J. Burnett for attendance shaming

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It’s the time of the year for people to fret about attendance at ballparks of contending clubs. People shaming fans for not purchasing tickets in ways that they’d never think about shaming customers who declined to by any other product. Outside of baseball it’s usually the company’s fault for not marketing or pricing their product in optimal ways. In sports it’s the customer’s fault. Weird.

Into that odd environment, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett tweeted this the other night following a loss to the Padres:

While he didn’t put the finest point on it in the world, the obvious subtext to the tweet is “you people should be showing up in greater numbers and it’s frustrating that you’re not.” As far as attendance-shaming goes it’s about as tame as it comes (who wouldn’t want more fans in the seats?) but it still it led to all kinds of people getting mad at Burnett and giving him an earful on Twitter.

Last night Burnett, with a nice save, tweeted this:

 

Probably worth noting that the attendance was 27,640 last night compared to 22,250 on the night he complained. An improvement, but not exactly a sellout or even a massive increase. Like that gift strike call after a manager gets ejected, this was a makeup call by Burnett.

In any event: Politics. Religion. Park attendance. Some things just shouldn’t be discussed in public.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.