Heath Bell granted release by the Rays, becomes free agent

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Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have granted Heath Bell his release, a week after they designated the right-hander for assignment.

Bell, 36, struggled in his brief time with the Rays, posting a 7.27 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over 13 relief appearances. He has not found success since leaving sunny San Diego following the 2011 season. In the time since, he has joined the Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays and has a disappointing 4.91 ERA to show for it.

Still, considering that Joel Hanrahan recently found work with the Tigers, it’s hard to imagine Bell getting passed over by 29 teams, most of which could use a veteran arm in the bullpen.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.