Almost a whole month and over 20 games remain.  5 of 6 pennant races are all but decided.  That can't be good for attendance coming down the stretch.

I know there are some wildcard races but...

Original Post
2022NYC posted:

Watching the Yanks win with their AAA roster is a bit ho hum now. I hope the Mets go on a run and get back into the playoff mix.

Agreed, but that bullpen.  Yikes!  Speaking of lousy bullpens, the Nats are in the thick of things and it looked like the only folks who came out for the Mets series was Mets fans.

RJM posted:

The Indians and A’s are leading the Rays for the two AL wildcard spots. But does anyone in Tampa care? If so, they might draw 15,000.

Rays fan here.  The truth hurts, but can you let me just enjoy a playoff run?  (And the Rays are #1 in the wild card standings as of today!)  I'll be at the Trop this weekend for the Jays game. 

And how about a team contending while posting THE lowest total payroll in MLB?  Just over 25% of Boston's, and the Rays will finish ahead of the Red Sox.  

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I didn't realize how many teams were completely out of the race until now. Half the third place teams are sub .500 and never had a chance. The Tigers are going to crawl to a 45 win season. It's embarrassing. When your team is virtually eliminated at the end of June how do you convince people to come spend money and watch them play another sub .500 team?

Brewers no bueno.

They do have a 4 game series vs the Cubs and then a relatively easy September schedule, but it doesn't look like they have enough pitching.  On top of that their star rookie Keston Hiura is out with injury, Moustakas is banged up, Cain is trying to play through injury, Travis Shaw has tried to play through a wrist injury all year, and even Yelich despite putting up MVP numbers has a back issue that prevents him from taking pregame BP

Just doesn't seem to be their year.  Take 3 of 4 from the Cubs & sweep Miami in 4 games and I might sing a different tune a week from now...

from a fan standpoint, if my Brewers are out of it I'd enjoy watching an Astros-Braves series.  Lots of fun, compelling players to watch on those teams.

Chico Escuela posted:
RJM posted:

The Indians and A’s are leading the Rays for the two AL wildcard spots. But does anyone in Tampa care? If so, they might draw 15,000.

Rays fan here.  The truth hurts, but can you let me just enjoy a playoff run?  (And the Rays are #1 in the wild card standings as of today!)  I'll be at the Trop this weekend for the Jays game. 

And how about a team contending while posting THE lowest total payroll in MLB?  Just over 25% of Boston's, and the Rays will finish ahead of the Red Sox.  

The Rays are good at selecting and developing pitchers. Kevin Cash is a very good manager. But on a year to year basis I’ll take the Sox.

If the Rays had the interest level the Sox have they would have the money. The money comes primarily from the tv and radio contracts and attendance. The Sox know they’re going to draw 2.8 to 3M every year. All the peripheral places money comes from the Sox also do well. 

Don’t claim it’s market size. The population of central and northern Florida exceeds the population of New England.

Currently going through Step 9 (Apology) of my Red Sox not making the playoffs in a 12-Step program.  Looking forward to the day when I can enjoy baseball for baseball's sake.  I'm letting go and trying to forgive Dombrowski, but any true New Englander holds grudges for a long, long time.  ;-)  

The Astros and Dodgers are looking pretty darn good on paper this year, and definitely the front runners.  Somebody is going to get hot and challenge them.  Nationals, Braves and Twins are hot right now, and really looking forward to the playoffs...love to see the Nationals finally do something in the post season.

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Fenway's post is why I don't watch sports all that much any more....4 titles in 15 years and we're not happy.  I did the same with my UCONN basketball team.  As a fan, you end the season disappointed at such a high % of the time, and when they win, we get greedy and want it every year.  It's painful...unless you're a Patriots fan (I'm not)

I don’t see it as Dombrowski’s fault. How was he to know Sale and Price would have arm problems all year? That Porcello would go from 17-7 to one of the worst pitchers in baseball? Only Eovaldi’s arm problems were possibly avoidable by not signing him.

Given where the Sox were up against the luxury tax I was on board with the plan of a mid season acquisition of a closer. But the starting rotation’s failures smoked the bullpen with overuse.

As it turns out the Sox found a closer in Workman. The big issue is what do they do about their starting rotation. As I see it they have one reliable starter in Rodriguez. I figure Eovaldi returns to form next year. Price is a year older with arm problems in back to back seasons. I’m betting Sale misses next year. Hopefully Cashner can be a .500 innings eater in the back of the rotation. Porcello is gone unless he’s back cheap for one year. 

I believe the Sox paid the price for what it took to win last year using starters also out of the bullpen. But you take the risk every time you’re close.

Heres some irony for you. Seven months ago fans were wondering if the Celtics and Bruins could pull off the Boston Slam after the Sox and Patriots won.

If Brady gets injured and the Patriots go out of the playoffs in the first round Boston teams will have completed the Boston Nightmare Slam ... Egos destroyed Celtics. The Bruins lost game seven. A loaded Sox roster with a perceived solid starting rotation bombed out of the fate. Boston is one team away from the Nightmare Slam.

3and2Fastball posted:

Yeah, poor suffering Red Sox fans.  Try rooting for a team that has never won a World Series and then come back to me with your tears (!)

(I suppose that is what it is like rooting for the Vikings against my Packers)

I spent decades listening to Yankee fans chant “1918.” No Red Sox loss will ever top the Bucky Bleeping Dent game unless it’s the Aaron Bleeping Boone game. Oh wait a minute! How about Mookie Wilson using Bill Buckner for a croquet wicket? 

What’s occurred over the past fifteen years falls under “good things come to those who wait.” If You think Sox fans are arrogant we learned from the best, “Yankee fans.”

If you want to discuss some serious “suck” how about the Patriots before they were purchased by Robert Kraft? As a kid I marveled at how easy it was to sneak into Patriots games. When I got older I realized they probably wanted us there filling seats. 

RJM posted:
Chico Escuela posted:
RJM posted:

The Indians and A’s are leading the Rays for the two AL wildcard spots. But does anyone in Tampa care? If so, they might draw 15,000.

Rays fan here.  The truth hurts, but can you let me just enjoy a playoff run?  (And the Rays are #1 in the wild card standings as of today!)  I'll be at the Trop this weekend for the Jays game. 

And how about a team contending while posting THE lowest total payroll in MLB?  Just over 25% of Boston's, and the Rays will finish ahead of the Red Sox.  

The Rays are good at selecting and developing pitchers. Kevin Cash is a very good manager. But on a year to year basis I’ll take the Sox.

If the Rays had the interest level the Sox have they would have the money. The money comes primarily from the tv and radio contracts and attendance. The Sox know they’re going to draw 2.8 to 3M every year. All the peripheral places money comes from the Sox also do well. 

Don’t claim it’s market size. The population of central and northern Florida exceeds the population of New England.

No question Red Sox Nation supports the team.  And with a payroll almost 4x the Rays', the Red Sox ought to outperform them over the longer term.  (I have no quarrel with teams whose owners are willing to spend--good on the Red Sox.) 

Florida cities' relationship with MLB is troubled across the board.  I can offer only one primary defense (rationalization?): 

You referred above to "Tampa" in connection with the Rays.  Many folks forget that the team actually plays in St. Petersburg--they are the Tampa Bay rays, the bay being a body of water that Tampa, St. P and several other communities border.  Why does that matter?  There are just over 3M people in the Tampa metro area.  But St. Pete is on a peninsula that is home to maybe 300 to 350,000 of those folks.  The other 2.5+ million (as well as the throngs to the east in central Florida) can only access the peninsula via a few bridges that at rush hour are terrible bottlenecks.  St. Petersburg is a great town--but it was a bad place to put an MLB stadium.  As I said, Florida has a... complicated relationship with major league baseball.  But if the Rays played on the Tampa side of the bay, they'd have better attendance.  (A new stadium would help, too.)  I'm not confident attendance would improve enough, but it would improve.

P.S.  -- Boston metro population is 4.6M vs. 3.06M for Tampa -- a full third larger.  So there's another rationalization in defense of the Rays. 

I don't call Red Sox fans arrogant.  I respect the passion.  Reminds me of Packers fans.  The Packers are a religion in Wisconsin.

I'm just saying I don't have sympathy for Red Sox fans when the Red Sox lose.  The Brewers have never won a World Series.  The Wild Card pennant hanging in Miller Park is a flat out embarrassment. 

3and2Fastball posted:

I don't call Red Sox fans arrogant.  I respect the passion.  Reminds me of Packers fans.  The Packers are a religion in Wisconsin.

I'm just saying I don't have sympathy for Red Sox fans when the Red Sox lose.  The Brewers have never won a World Series.  The Wild Card pennant hanging in Miller Park is a flat out embarrassment. 

My only real issue with Red Sox fans in 2019 is that they still want to play the woebegone underdogs card, especially when comparing their team to the Yankees.  You've won four World Series in 15 years and have the largest payroll in baseball.  That's a great thing for the fan base.  But complaining about your years wandering in the wilderness don't really evoke any sympathy from me.  It's like Yankees' fans crying in their beer because their team hasn't won a World Series since 2009... 

Boston metro population is 4.6M vs. 3.06M for Tampa -- a full third larger.  So there's another rationalization in defense of the Rays

There are over 14M people in central and northern Florida. There are under 14M in New England when excluding Fairfield County CT (suburb of NYC). If Tampa can’t compete with the Braves and Marlins (two other weak baseball markets who also don’t sell out playoff games) in their own backyard it’s their own fault. Or the fans aren’t interested. 

RJM posted:

Boston metro population is 4.6M vs. 3.06M for Tampa -- a full third larger.  So there's another rationalization in defense of the Rays

There are over 14M people in central and northern Florida. There are under 14M in New England when excluding Fairfield County CT (suburb of NYC). If Tampa can’t compete with the Braves and Marlins (two other weak baseball markets who also don’t sell out playoff games) in their own backyard it’s their own fault. Or the fans aren’t interested. 

I could try to argue with you about travel times for those populations to get to games... but my heart wouldn't really be in it (and honestly I'm not sure what the data would show).  The Rays will be leaving St. Pete within a few years for sure (the Trop lease runs through 2027, as I recall, though I doubt they stay that long), and probably leaving the state.  Charlotte, Raleigh or Nashville would be interesting spots.  Or MLB could go back to Montreal.  

My bet would be Montreal first and Charlotte or Raleigh second. Probably Charlotte due to a bigger corporate base. But the team would be marketed as a Carolina team. Montreal would probably throw the most benefits at the team. 

Travel time? No problem! All it takes is a market and demand.

“The Amtrak Downeaster has added later departure times on evenings of Red Sox home games and concerts at Fenway Park and TD Garden! Train 689/ 699 will depart Boston at 11:25pm to make your night even better.”

it arrives at the other end at 2:15am.

 

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I've been telling my kids how spoiled they are as NE sports fans... Hard to believe when I grew up the only really successful team was the Celtics, but the Bruins popularity was off the charts (is Boston really a blue collar town ). 

IMO, the Sox failures this year are mostly pitching related, but there's a bit of lack of timely hitting. Way too many games lost because they don't have a consistent/good closer. As for Porch-Rocker - look at his W/L stats - he was destined for a down year after a good year. I'm not too surprised actually.

w/r/t: the Rays drive and population discussion:

St.Pete may the 'actual' home and accessible by two bridges with traffic woes; however, that makes me wonder if you've ever tried to drive to Fenway *and* find parking...  The Trop is really easy in and easy out comparatively.  I won't even try thinking about driving to Yankee stadium let alone find parking - public transportation is the best way there. It's probably a good thing that a new home in Ybor City was supported - travel to/from and parking would have been a challenge there. I believe using population numbers, drive times, etc. is a poor excuse for why fans don't show up for a team that's doing well. Even without a good team people go to Fenway for the experience. BTW having lived in Charlotte for a bit ... they have a MiLB team that gets OK support. Their NFL team gets support now because of Cam, but when we first moved there it was a different story - parking for $5. They're trying really hard to get a s*r team, but cannot get the necessary community $$ support even for that. Doubtful they'd get enough support for a MLB team. 

 

JohnF posted:

 

St.Pete may the 'actual' home and accessible by two bridges with traffic woes; however, that makes me wonder if you've ever tried to drive to Fenway *and* find parking...  The Trop is really easy in and easy out comparatively.  I won't even try thinking about driving to Yankee stadium let alone find parking - public transportation is the best way there. It's probably a good thing that a new home in Ybor City was supported - travel to/from and parking would have been a challenge there. I believe using population numbers, drive times, etc. is a poor excuse for why fans don't show up for a team that's doing well. Even without a good team people go to Fenway for the experience. BTW having lived in Charlotte for a bit ... they have a MiLB team that gets OK support. Their NFL team gets support now because of Cam, but when we first moved there it was a different story - parking for $5. They're trying really hard to get a s*r team, but cannot get the necessary community $$ support even for that. Doubtful they'd get enough support for a MLB team. 

 

All fair points re: the Rays.  I do think the Red Sox and Yankees are unique cases to a great extent, given their long, storied histories.  The presence of good mass transit networks helps, too.

So what factors drive attendance.  Florida does not draw well for MLB.  But spring training tickets seem to be harder to get every year.  The Marlins arguably have crushed their fans' spirits (repeatedly) and aren't winning now.  But the Rays are good and a lot of fun to watch.  The Trop is not a great stadium (or even a good one), but it's air conditioned and can't rain out--I still like going to games there.  The area around the Trop is seeing a wealth of new restaurants and bars, but that isn't helping.  Many Floridians come from other places and maybe keep their hometown team allegiances--but Arizona manages middle of the pack home attendance despite also being a magnet for retirement and relocation. 

The 2019 attendance figures show one obvious trend:  winning teams tend to draw well, losing teams do not: http://www.espn.com/mlb/attendance

The Rays are the obvious outlier when it comes to W/L records and attendance.  Cleveland comes in 23rd in attendance--pretty low, but still ~50% more fans per game than TB.

The Cubs sold out home games even when they were terrible.  Classic urban stadium, easy access on mass transit, long tradition.  Getting your fan base to think of your team as "lovable losers" means you don't have to win to sell tickets--a neat trick if you can pull it off.

Sorting the data by attendance at away games yields a few surprises:  The Red Sox rank much lower in road game attendance vs. home games, while the Padres, Reds and Pirates rank a good deal higher (maybe because the latter three play a lot of in-division games at popular parks like Dodger Stadium and Wrigley?).  The Rays are attendance bottom feeders at home or on the road.  The Twins, for some reason, are MLB's worst road draw even though they are very good this year (because the AL Central is otherwise so weak except for the Indians?).

As for a new home for the Rays:  Charlotte has been #1 or #2 in MiLB attendance since they built a new downtown ballpark a few years ago.  A lot of those are corporate season tickets though, and on weeknights you usually see quite a few empty seats despite an announced sellout.  An MLB team would require tearing up said new stadium--I assumed that getting a new MiLB park meant Charlotte was opting out on MLB.  I don't know if any city will be willing to pay for a new ballpark to get a team--that madness seems to have died down.  (Although I think Charlotte likely will build a domed stadium for the Panthers new billionaire owner, so who knows...?)

Chico Escuela posted:
RJM posted:

The Indians and A’s are leading the Rays for the two AL wildcard spots. But does anyone in Tampa care? If so, they might draw 15,000.

Rays fan here.  The truth hurts, but can you let me just enjoy a playoff run?  (And the Rays are #1 in the wild card standings as of today!)  I'll be at the Trop this weekend for the Jays game. 

And how about a team contending while posting THE lowest total payroll in MLB?  Just over 25% of Boston's, and the Rays will finish ahead of the Red Sox.  

You have to see the positive, you can take 3 seats and use them like a sofa

CTbballDad posted:

Big 4 games series between the Nats and Braves.  I expect a packed house, hopefully the Braves will put the division out of reach.

Apparently you were unaware that the Nationals are (were) the "winningest team in baseball" since (insert random arbitrary date)" or so they and the nat'l media keep telling us.  lol.  Meanwhile, they were losing ground in the NL East even before head-to-head and last night's loss.  Braves up 8 games with 20 to play.  Good luck with that!! 

Braves getting no respect despite being the hottest team in MLB taking 2 of 3 in series against both Dodgers and Nationals in August.  

Dominik85 posted:
Chico Escuela posted:
RJM posted:

The Indians and A’s are leading the Rays for the two AL wildcard spots. But does anyone in Tampa care? If so, they might draw 15,000.

Rays fan here.  The truth hurts, but can you let me just enjoy a playoff run?  (And the Rays are #1 in the wild card standings as of today!)  I'll be at the Trop this weekend for the Jays game. 

And how about a team contending while posting THE lowest total payroll in MLB?  Just over 25% of Boston's, and the Rays will finish ahead of the Red Sox.  

You have to see the positive, you can take 3 seats and use them like a sofa

Padres games when I first moved there. And you could bring your own beer in a plastic container. So we would fill a team size cooler. 

Its a deep drive to left. Winfield races back. He hits his head on the wall. It’s rolling back towards the infield.

- Jerry “Malaprop” Coleman 

I am pleased TB was able to make the playoffs. The As too. I am glad that small payroll teams can thrive in this whacky baseball economy, but I am curious how teams will do it if the MLB service time changes in the next contract. The injury bug is still persisting with my beloved Yanks, if they should win it all this year, it would be an amazing feat. Houston fans are probably foaming at the mouth with their chances...a really really scary team

Anything can happen in one series. But it’s hard to maintain playing over your head through an entire post season. Unless a handful of teams can out slug their pitching woes it should be the Astros versus the Dodgers in the World Series.

Astros just have no weakness.  Monster line-up, good pen but the biggest thing they have over anyone else is 3 aces who all can go 7 on a good day. A lot of talk over bullpenning but while that might work a game or a series always starting the pen in be 4th or 5th will make those great relievers tired. You can do that sometimes but no every game.

That's the problem the brewers and twins have, they have good line ups and bullpens but just not the good starters who can consistently go 6+.

Dominik85 posted:

Astros just have no weakness.  Monster line-up, good pen but the biggest thing they have over anyone else is 3 aces who all can go 7 on a good day. A lot of talk over bullpenning but while that might work a game or a series always starting the pen in be 4th or 5th will make those great relievers tired. You can do that sometimes but no every game.

That's the problem the brewers and twins have, they have good line ups and bullpens but just not the good starters who can consistently go 6+.

Brewers don't even have that good of a bullpen this year.  Knebel is hurt, Jeffress is gone, Hader has given up 15 HR's in 75 innings.

Wild Card games Nats over Brewers and A's over Rays

LDS Dodgers over Nats, Braves over Cards Yanks over Twins and Astros over A's.  A couple of these could be great series but I think Yanks overpower Twins with bullpen.  Nats and A's have to get Pitching and closest matchup is Braves/Cards that will turn on who gets a great game or two out of starters.

LCS Dodgers over Braves in 6 and Astros over Yanks in 6.  Both of these might have a couple of twists & turns but better deeper teams win.  Yanks have better shot than Braves if they can get 5 of the games to the bullpens tied or in the lead after 5 or 6.

Series Astros over Dodgers in 7.  Verlander is the difference but Dodger lefty bats present problem for RHP heavy Astros.  This could be another classic like the one a couple of seasons ago.

Not nearly as exciting as the NL wild card, but great win for the Rays last night (and I admit, I was not expecting it).  A's actually had one more hit than the Rays, and both team's pitchers had 12 Ks.  The whole story was HRs.  Not my favorite brand of baseball, but I'll take it.

Fun fact:  If you combined the team payrolls of the Rays and As, they would rank 13th in the majors (slightly above league average).  And Oakland's payroll is $29M (forty-seven percent) higher than Tampa Bay's.

Epic comeback win for the Bravos!  Down 1-0 with 2 outs in the 9th, Donaldson, Swanson, and then Adam Duvall comes through.  Second huge pinch hit, two RBI hit for Duvall in three games.  Sweet!

If you want to cheer for someone in these races, you couldn't find a better guy or story than Duvall.  Former All-Star who spent almost the entire season in the minors.  No complaints, no "me," nothing but great attitude and team every time he talks to the press.  And battling Type 1 diabetes through it all.  

#Braves' Duvall: "There's a lot of work that's been put in this year. And I just try to go up there and have a quality at-bat, play quality defense, be a good teammate and hopefully everything else takes care of itself."

Excellent story about Duvall and what he has to overcome everyday here:   Braves’ Duvall plays with a secret weapon: his insulin pump

Rays need to get it done tonight!! This has been a good set of series, but as a part-time Tampa Bay area resident, this team has played like a top tier team with very little (VERY little) fan support in a dome that feels like you're at the circus! Let's see them bring down a behemoth! (I do normally like the Astros) And lastly, as a lifelong Phillies fan, I quite enjoyed the Braves demise.  Nats deserve a chance to go further, but I won't cry when they get eliminated next round!  Only a few weeks left to savor!

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