Last night Howard Eskin of 94 WIP in Philly reported that the Blue Jays and Phillies were discussing a possible Jose Bautista-for-Dominic Brown trade. It was something of a crazy rumor as far as these things go, but I suppose there is crazier.
Jon Heyman says this morning, however, that there’s nothing to it. Eskin is holding firm, saying it’s still a thing, but given that Heyman tends to have pretty darn good sourcing when it comes to Phillies stuff — and given that Eskin is not exactly at the vanguard of breaking baseball news — I’m going with Heyman here.
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.