Stat-urday, 5/18/2019


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Dodger_Stadium_field_from_upper_deck_2015-10-04.jpgAfter two rain outs in a row in New York this week, I started wondering how the weather has affected games and attendance this year, and stumbled upon an interesting article about MLB attendance being down for the sixth straight year. Last year, they tried to blame it on the weather, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

Below are the stats for this year’s attendance so far, courtesy of Baseball-reference.com. A whopping 18 teams have lower attendance this year than for the same time last year.

What do you think is causing the drop in attendance and what should MLB do about it?

Average Attendance per Game
Miami 9,516
Tampa Bay 14,540
Baltimore 14,972
Cleveland 15,285
Kansas City 15,525
Pittsburgh 15,717
Detroit 16,359
Cincinnati 17,124
Chicago White Sox 17,362
Minnesota 19,151
Oakland 19,541
Toronto 19,841
Seattle 23,066
Arizona 26,560
Washington 26,908
Texas 27,698
New York Mets 28,219
Atlanta 29,457
San Diego 30,454
Houston 31,941
San Francisco 32,669
Colorado 32,919
Milwaukee 33,079
Boston 33,902
Los Angeles Angels 34,866
Chicago Cubs 35,998
Philadelphia 36,130
New York Yankees 39,316
St. Louis 41,449
Los Angeles Dodgers 47,346

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

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A Day with the Yard Goats


IMG_3035Each year I try to visit a new team and a new stadium. This year my pick was the Hartford Yard Goats, who play at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Yard Goats arrived in Hartford in 2016 when the New Britain Rock Cats relocated to Hartford. However, they can trace their heritage back to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, when they were known as the Pittsfield Red Sox, the double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox from 1965 to 1969. In 1970, that team moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where they played as the Pawtucket Red Sox from 1970 to 1972. When the Red Sox moved their triple-A franchise to Pawtucket, the double-A team moved again to Bristol, Connecticut, where they played from 1973 to 1982.

The team moved against in 1983 to New Britain Connecticut. In 1995, they changed their affiliation to the Minnesota Twins and were renamed the Hardware City Rock Cats. They changed their name again in 1997 to the New Britain Rock Cats. In 2015, they became the DSCN8440double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Although they became the Hartford Yard Goats in 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts Park was not completed, so they played the entire season on the road. They moved to their new park in 2017.

We visited the Yard Goats on Saturday, April 27 – a chilly, overcast day in Hartford. It turned out to be a double header, as the game the previous night had been rained out. Fortunately, Dunkin’ Donuts has a shop in Dunkin’ Donuts Park, as it was the perfect day for a nice, hot drink.

All-in-all it was a great place to see a game. Next time, however, I’ll go when it’s a bit warmer.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estadio Latinoamericano


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Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba

Three weeks ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Cuba. We took a cruise to Havana and, playing by the rules, took a guided “people-to-people” tour of the city. Sadly, this tour did not include baseball… at first.

The tour we took was on the “Art and Culture” of Cuba. Naturally, as the Baseball Sociologist, I consider baseball to be both art and culture, but our tour guide stated that we would not be seeing the stadium on that particular tour. However, as we drove around the city, I began to get hopeful. I saw what seemed to be stadium lights peeking out above the buildings. Then, all of a sudden, the big beautiful blue stadium arose out of the landscape as we turned into an intersection.

I’m sure my gasp of awe and excitement was audible. The tour guide must have noticed because he immediately looked out the window and proclaimed to the tourists on the bus that we were passing the stadium after all. He noted that it was the location of the game President Obama attended between the National team and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016. He also mentioned the deal between MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation that had been announced the day before. Our tour guide, who is employed by the Cuban government, stated he thought the agreement would be good for the players, giving them a safer – and legal – way to sign with major league teams.

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Terrible picture of the stadium through the tour bus windows.

Estadio Latinoamericano opened in October 1946. The first baseball game there was played on October 26. The Almendares baseball club beat Cienfuegos by a score of 9 to 1. The Industriales replaced Alemendares as the main team playing in Estadio Latinoamericano in 1961 when professional baseball was banned in Cuba.

I craned my neck to see as much as I could see of the stadium through the windows of the bus. We quickly passed right by it, with no opportunity to hop off the bus and look around. Unlike most U.S. stadiums, we drove right by it – there were no parking lots or other barriers between it and us, just the sidewalk. I found it interesting that it really did seem to appear out of nowhere – seemingly right in the midst of a neighborhood.

Unfortunately, that brief glimpse of the stadium is pretty much all we got to experience of baseball in Cuba during our inaugural trip to the island. But now that I’ve spent a few hours in Havana, I know I want to go back. I’m already saving up for our next trip, during which we will see more baseball!

~ baseballrebecca

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The Swampoodle Grounds


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Earlier this week I was reading through “This Day in All Teams History” at Nationalpastime.com, when I stumbled upon this entry for September 11, 1886:

“At Washington’s Swampoodle Grounds, backstop Connie Mack makes his major league debut when the Nationals, in a rare victory, edge the Philadelphia Quakers, 4-3. The journeyman catcher will post the most big league wins and losses as a manager, compiling a 3731-3948 (.486) record with the Pirates and A’s during his 53-year managerial career.”

Having lived and worked in the Washington, DC, area for years, I was surprised I’d never heard of the Swampoodle Grounds. After all, “Swampoodle” is not a name one easily forgets (note: see my disclaimer below). So, I did my research.

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Swampoodle (See larger map of the area below)

Swampoodle was a neighborhood in northeast Washington, DC (now part of the so-called NoMa District). The term is actually a contraction of the words “swamp” and “puddle” and is a reference to the fact that the nearby Tiber Creek often overflowed in that area. The neighborhood was originally settled by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine in the mid-1800s.

Located in the neighborhood was the Swampoodle Grounds, more officially known as Capitol Park. Home of the Washington Nationals baseball team from 1886 to 1889, the ballpark was bounded by Delaware Avenue (first base side), G Street (right field), North Capitol Street (left field), and F Street (third base side). Today, Union Station stands near the site of the former ballpark. The name will once again be used for a new playground and dog park to be located 3rd and L Streets.

~ baseballrebecca

 

Postscript: Naturally, as I did my research, I also discovered that the Swampoodle Grounds was featured in the blog Archived Innings earlier this year and I had, in fact, read the post and liked it. Obviously, I have a terrible memory. (Next year at this time I probably rediscover the Swampoodle Grounds all over again!)

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Swampoodle area of Washington, DC, in 1893 (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Hank Aaron Stadium


dscn7572.jpgA little over week ago, I began writing about my recent trip to Alabama, where I visited the Negro Southern League Museum and the Mobile BayBears. But that was before the trade deadline, before they traded Jonathan Schoop, another of my favorite Orioles and the other half of the Machado-Schoop bromance. (Obviously, I’m still not over it.)

Today and tomorrow, I’ll finally finish my tale of baseball in Alabama and my visit to the Mobile BayBears, who will be relocating to Madison, AL, in 2020. They’ve done a phenomenal job of preserving baseball history at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. Not only did they move Hank Aaron’s childhood home from Toulminville, AL, to the stadium grounds, but they have several historical exhibits around the stadium.

For starters, check out the pictures of Hank Aaron’s childhood home:

Throughout the stadium concourse, there are actual stadium seats from current and former baseball stadiums around the country. First, there’s Fulton County Stadium, where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record:

Next, we stumbled upon seats from Wrigley Field, although it’s unclear exactly why they were there:

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Finally, there are seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, where Hank Aaron started his career with the Milwaukee Braves and ended it with the Milwaukee Brewers:

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Stay tuned for more about the Mobile BayBears tomorrow!

~ baseballrebecca