Getting a job via a tryout camp ain’t easy. But it happens.

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Here’s a make-you-feel-better-about-this-cold-and-crappy-world story. It’s from Jason Beck of MLB.com. It’s about Wynton Bernard, Tigers farmhand. Who, after he was released from the Padres organization and couldn’t latch on anyplace, made his way into the Tigers organization via the Tigers’ annual tryout camp:

In many ways, the tryout is the opposite of the game. A player is taught to ride the daily ups and downs and trust the results of a season. In a tryout, it’s one player against the guy next to him, and a bad at-bat, a bad play, sends a guy home . . .

“. . . There was one point where one of the guys told us, ‘It’s OK. You guys can go home.’ So I packed my bag. And I think it was Dave Owen who said, ‘No, we want you to stay.'”

Bernard went on to hit .323 with 30 doubles, six homers, 47 RBIs and 45 stolen bases, earning Midwest League MVP honors last season with the West Michigan Whitecaps. The odds he makes the bigs? Long, most likely. But the fact that he has made the best of a bad situation and made it back into a major league organization in as improbable a manner as he did is something he’ll always have with him.

The Tigers will have another tryout camp on March 9. Maybe someone else will use it to hold on to their dream a bit longer.

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.