Maikel Franco broke Freddy Galvis’ windshield with a BP home run

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A few years back, when Jason Heyward as a rookie in Braves camp, he hit a bunch of home runs over the right field fence at the Braves’ spring training facility, denting the hoods and breaking the windshields of the cars of Braves employees. It was a lot of fun for everyone who didn’t park in that area. The Braves had fun with it as an organization too. They made a big show of putting up a canopy over the parking places to keep that from happening again and everything.

Since then, coinciding with the rise of social media, it has become a regular spring thing to get reports of similar batting practice home run-on-parked-car violence. Tweeted pictures and the like. This year is no different. We saw some of it at Cubs camp the other day in Mesa. Today we see it at Phillies camp down in Clearwater:

The only question I have is why, after all of these windshield incidents, do players and team employees still park their cars where they do? We have a general idea, after 150 years, of how far home runs can fly, do we not? We know where the foul balls go too. Maybe fans don’t have a choice of where they park all the time, but if I had a nice car and a choice, I think I’d park a minimum of 600 feet from home plate.

Maybe that means I walk farther, but it beats having to call the windshield guys.

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.