Let’s stop this thing about the Royals being “the bad boys of baseball” before it starts

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So there is an HBT commenter, some of you may have come across him, named “kcrobert10.” He’s notable for a couple of reasons. First off, he’s literally the first commenter I can remember in the six-year history of HardballTalk who self-identifies as a Royals fan. It’s just the sort of thing you remember.

But he’s far more notable for his habit of showing up in the morning recap thread calling the Royals “the bad boys of baseball.” Without any apparent irony. It’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, bless his heart.

Cute, but no, we can’t let that stick. As long as I’m drawing breath, I will not let “bad boys of baseball” happen with the Royals. Or anyone else for that matter. There was one sports team with a claim to “Bad Boys” and that was the Rick Mahorn Detroit Pistons. They owned it and retired it. And even if they hadn’t, calling a team the “Bad Boys” is the most 80s-90s thing ever, so we sure as hell shouldn’t be doing it in 2015. And that’s even if the Royals sign Mahorn to play first base. Which they should, but that’s another post.

But man, I really don’t want to come down too hard on kcrobert10 in all of this. Like I said, he’s positively adorable. So even if I fully intend to kill the thing he holds dear and to do it with a smile on my face, I will throw him a bone. A bone in the form of this article that our long-time commenter Moses passed along to me. Passed along to me because Uncle Moses here thinks kcrobert10 is adorable too. It comes with the abomination of a headline leds “Straight Outta Kauffman,” which could get a headline writer hurt if he crows about writing it. But anyway:

While the Royals fan base certainly has the team’s back, opposing fans think otherwise. After being the darlings of baseball last year with their Cinderella run, some are calling the Royals the “bad boys” of the league this season.

But is it justified? We’ll leave that up to you.

Soak it all in, kcrobert10. Revel in it.

At least until me and all the other right-minded people come and beat that little meme to bloody death with a bag of doorknobs while you watch.

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.