Sean Doolittle has some thoughts about MLB’s proposal to restart season

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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle is one of baseball’s truly good guys. He and his wife Eireann Dolan have been involved with numerous philanthropic efforts and Doolittle even earned a nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2016 when he was with the Athletics. They have supported Operation Finally Home, which is a nonprofit that provides “custom-built, mortgage-free” homes to members of the military and their widows. They also supported San Francisco’s veterans charity Swords to Plowshares, which “provides needs assessment and case management, employment and training, housing, and legal assistance” to veterans.

In 2015, Doolittle and Dolan hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving amid a turbulent time concerning Syrian refugees and U.S. foreign policy. The pair continued to speak out in support of refugees, including in 2017. Doolittle and Dolan also supported LGBT people in 2015, buying enough tickets to fill the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum on LGBT night. That was in response to critics who vowed to sell their tickets in protest. Last year, Doolittle was recognized for his advocacy of union workers who serve food at MLB stadiums.

This is all to say that Doolittle is a thoughtful guy who puts his money where his mouth is. He doesn’t just shoot from the hip.

Today, we learned that MLB ownership has agreed on a proposal it intends to present to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday regarding the 2020 regular season. The proposal will include details about the schedule, location of games, as well as worker pay. Ahead of that proposal, Doolittle offered his thoughts on the matter in a thread on Twitter. He provides links to many resources, validating his concerns. It’s worth reading and considering.

We haven’t heard from many players about the risks they face if they were to resume playing. Doolittle has taken it upon himself to speak up. Hopefully, union reps take his concerns into account before hearing MLB’s proposal tomorrow.

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.