Roy Gilbert

MLB Attendance Drops in Boom-Bust Era of Big Winners, Losers

Famous Showdowns Between Outlaws and the Law

Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesA baseball rests on grass. Major League Baseball has entered the Boom/Bust Era. An unprecedented four teams won 100 games in the same season. Four clubs lost in triple figures for only the second time. Amid widespread claims the baseballs have changed, hitters shattered the home run record for the second time in three seasons. And sparked by batters going for the fences to beat suffocating shifts, strikeouts set a record for the 12th year in a row and outnumbered hits for the second straight season. With some teams out of contention even before their first pitch, average attendance has dropped four years in a row for the first time since the commissioner’s office started tracking it in 1980. "We’re going to draw 68-plus million people at the big league level," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said this week, "another 41 million in minor league baseball — they’re actually going to be up. I’ll take 110 million people going to see the sport live. That’s a really, really awesome number in an environment where people have more and more and more alternatives to consume." More and more teams have adopted an all-in or all-out philosophy. If they don’t think they can win it, why bother to be in it? Better to shed expensive veterans and rebuild with cheaper rookies — and incur the box-office hit. Management calls that prudent rebuilding. The players’ association labels it tanking. "We have some of the most remarkably talented players our game has […]

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