Spring training attendance is off and several things are to blame, aside from pricey tickets — early start, cold weather and lineups depleted by injured stars and players dispatched to the World Baseball Classic.
The dip is nearly 14 percent lower than it was on this date last year, reported STATS Inc, the sports information firm.
Games started about a week earlier this season because players wanted to get in shape for the World Baseball Classic. That meant games were scheduled before many fans arrived for vacation and spring break. By the end of February, several teams had already played for a week.
“I think we started about eight or nine days too early. That means a whole lot,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
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The weather hasn’t been ideal, either — a freak winter storm out West and a cold snap down South.
Normally a big draw wherever they go, the Yankees played to a crowd of 3,213 when they visited the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla. Then again, the glitziest name in New York’s split-squad lineup that day was Matt Diaz.
NEWSPAPER WON’T YIELD EVIDENCE OF DRUG SALES
The South Florida newspaper that two months ago reported the alleged purchase of performance-enhancing drugs by several baseball players will not turn over documents requested by Major League Baseball, Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse told Newsday on Tuesday.
The newspaper’s investigation said banned substances were obtained by players, including Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, from now-defunct Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic run by Anthony Bosch. Notebook entries the newspaper said were made by Bosch listed the names of players, the drugs they bought and the amounts charged for the medications.
Outfielder Carlos Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a $28.3 million, four-year contract. … Stephen Strasburg will make his second opening day start for the Washington Nationals when they begin the season at home against the Miami Marlins on April 1. … The Detroit Tigers have released outfielder Brennan Boesch. … The Kansas City Royals are sending former No. 1 overall draft pick Luke Hochevar to the bullpen after five seasons as a starter.