Zack Greinke won’t show up to Astros camp until February 22

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Astros manager Dusty Baker said today that Zack Greinke won’t report to camp until Feb. 22 , which is more than a week after pitchers and catchers report date.

Is he hurt? Nah. Baker said Greinke is healthy and working out on his own. What gives? Baker:

“Other than he’s Zack Greinke. I’ve got no problem with that.”

So, Greinke being Greinke. Which isn’t super surprising. He, as you likely know, has always done his own thing. One gets the sense that he makes his mind up to do what he does based on a criteria to which you and I can’t really relate and which he is not terribly interested in explaining. Given that he has always been ready to pitch and hasn’t been a divisive clubhouse personality I think everyone is cool with him doing his own Zack Greinke-esque things.

Still.

Part of me wonders if Greinke knew that the utter mess of the first couple of days of Astros camp was going to go how it’s gone. If he knew that his teammates who were on that 2017 team would be, for the most part, stumbling around for explanations and excuses, and if his team’s owner and others in charge were going to make a hash out of it all as they have. Part of me also wonders if Greinke — while not a member of that 2017 Dodgers team the Astros faced in the World Series but certainly close to many members of that club given his previous years on the team — didn’t want any part of being asked to comment on the whole situation.

But only part of me wonders that because Greinke is also the kind of guy who has never seemed too bothered by hard questions. Because, unlike most athletes, he tends to give pretty honest answers and doesn’t seem to care where the chips fall. It may simply be a situation in which he just woke up a couple of weeks ago and said “spring training starts on February 22 for me and that’s that.” Dusty Baker is a smart guy who has been around long enough to know that if that’s what happened there is no sense in trying to change Greinke’s mind.

Anyway, Greinke, even though he’s thousands of miles away from spring training, is already having a better spring training than most of the Astros are. Seems like a pretty good decision, all things considered.

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.