Josh Donaldson and Justin Morneau added to Home Run Derby

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The field for next week’s Home Run Derby is officially in place.

MLB just announced that Josh Donaldson of the Athletics has been added to the American League squad. Meanwhile, Justin Morneau of the Rockies has been named as the final participant for the National League.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista is the captain for the American League and will also be joined by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, and Athletics left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Morneau’s teammate, Troy Tulowitzki, is the captain for the National League and also has Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, and Reds third baseman Todd Frazier on his side. Cespedes won the whole thing last year.

The 2014 Home Run Derby will take place next Monday night (8 p.m. ET) at Target Field, the site of this year’s All-Star Game. The hometown crowd will rooting for Dozier, but Morneau figures to get a lot of support in his return to Minnesota.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.