Joe Mauer exits game with strained left oblique

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From MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger comes word that Twins first baseman Joe Mauer made an early exit from Tuesday night’s game against the Royals after suffering a strained left oblique muscle. Most oblique strains need 2-3 weeks of rest and rehab, so Mauer is presumably headed to the 15-day disabled list.

Mauer hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday versus Kansas City, but he is still batting just .271 with a .695 OPS in 76 games this season. The 31-year-old entered 2014 — his first season since moving permanently away from catcher — with a .323 career average and .873 career OPS.

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.