Baseball experiences its 138th worst season attendance of all time

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Sorry, been reading more of those “baseball is dying” columns, and they just force you to think that way. If you’re a glass-is-half-full guy, however, it was a pretty good year attendance wise for baseball:

Major League Baseball finished the 2013 regular season with an attendance of 74,026,895, the sixth highest total of all-time, it was announced today … In 2,426 dates this season, MLB averaged 30,514 fans per game.  MLB’s 2013 total trails only the four-year span from 2005-2008 and last year’s total of 74,859,268.

There’s always spin to this sort of press release, of course. Here MLB talks about its second half surge and the fact that there were a lot of rainouts. Still, attendance was down a skinch, with pretty a precipitous decline in Miami helping drive things south.

That said, attendance is still strong, especially compared to historic levels.  The worst draw was the Tampa Bay Rays, who drew 1.5 million. The days when multiple teams drew less than a million a year are long gone. At the gate, things are pretty good.

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.