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J.D. Martinez stays hot, homers against Orioles

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Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez wasn’t exactly a slouch in baseball’s first month this season, ending April with a .958 OPS. But he’s switched to a completely new gear in May. Entering Thursday night’s action against the Orioles, Martinez was hitting .356/.415/.763 with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 65 plate appearances this month.

Martinez stayed hot on Thursday, blasting a two-run home run to center field at Fenway Park off of Kevin Gausman.

Martinez has hit safely in 15 of 16 games and homered in eight of 16 games, which is pretty impressive. Martinez grounded into a double play and struck out in his next two at-bats, but the damage has been done.

Martinez didn’t sign as a free agent until late February, agreeing to a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox. So far, so good.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.