Reds bypass election process to put Pete Rose in team Hall of Fame

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Pete Rose may never get into Cooperstown, but the Reds announced that MLB’s all-time hits leader will be inducted into their team Hall of Fame in late June … nearly 30 years after his final game in Cincinnati.

C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in doing so the Reds will be “bypassing the usual election process and changing its rule that had matched the rule of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, barring those on baseball’s permanently ineligible list from induction.”

Why now, when the Reds could have bypassed those team Hall of Fame guidelines for induction at any point in the past three decades? It’s unclear, but in a statement released to the media Reds president Bob Castellini said Rose going into the team Hall of Fame “will be a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise.”

Rose was permanently banned by MLB in 1989 and last month commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he would not be overturning the ban, citing Rose’s failure to change his ways and lack of understanding about the situation in general. Rose held a press conference in Las Vegas the next day to address Manfred’s decision. Perhaps a new commissioner making it clear that Rose wouldn’t be getting into Cooperstown motivated the Reds to put Rose into their team Hall of Fame now, rather than, say, 1996 or 2006.

Rose will be the 86th player inducted into the team Hall of Fame and Rosencrans speculates that the Reds will also soon build a statue of him outside the ballpark as they’ve done with other star players like Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench.

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.