It’s Spring Training For Goodness Sake!

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Get your Convenience Fee ($1.50) and your Pre Order Fee ($2.00) and a free Wily Peralta Bobblehead Doll and a seat in the lawn is only…$11.50.
Get your Service Fee ($4.00) and a baseline reserved seat to see a split squad match against the Rangers at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for only … $39.00.

OK. The prices to see most of these teams have skyrocketed and as a result, attendance in the Cactus League have dropped 10% in 2016 from last year.
The California Angels of Anaheim have dropped 304 fans in the first two weeks this season (7,280 in 2015 vs 6,976 in 2016).
The Oakland Athletics have dropped 2,236 fans in the first two weeks this season (7,892 in 2015 vs 5,656 in 2016).
The Milwaukee Brewers have dropped 712 fans in the first two weeks this season (5,684 in 2015 vs 4,963 in 2016).
The Chicago Cubs have increased 595 fans in the first two weeks of this season (14,493 in 2015 vs 15,188 in 2016).
The Arizona Diamondback have dropped 1,329 fans in the first two weeks of this season (11,716 in 2015 vs 10,287 in 2016).
The Los Angeles Dodgers up 1,178 fans in the first two weeks of this season (9,221 in 2015 vs 10,399 in 2016).
The San Francisco Giants down 103 fans in the first two weeks of this season 10,699 in 2015 vs 10,596 in 2016).
The Cleveland Indians down 881 fans in the first two weeks of this season (5,206 in 2015 vs 4,325 in 2016).
The Seattle Mariners down 838 fans in the first two weeks of this season (8,379 in 2015 vs 7,541 in 2016).
The San Diego Padres down 1,272 fans in the first two weeks of this season (7,096 in 2015 vs 5,824 in 2016).
The Texas Rangers down 231 fans in the first two weeks of this season (6,069 in 2015 vs 5,838 in 2016).
The Cincinnati Reds down 230 fans in the first two weeks of this season (4,171 in 2015 vs 3,941 in 2016).
The Colorado Rockies down 974 fans in the first two weeks of this season (9,307 in 2015 vs 8,533 in 2016).
The Kansas City Royals have increased 711 fans in the first two weeks of this season (6,686 in 2015 vs 7,397 in 2016).
The Chicago White Sox down 903 fans in the first two weeks of this season (5,977 in 2015 vs 5,074 in 2016).

In the first two weeks the Cactus League attendance is down 7,531 fans (games through Sunday March 13, 2016 vs Sunday March 15, 2015).
Last year, the second week was the biggest in attendance in the Cactus League, with 489,000 fans. This year, the second week drew only 442,000 fans.

The average ticket cost in the Cactus League in 2016 is approximately $25.25. Consider that an attendee will purchase a drink and a hot dog which will cost approximately $10.25, and don’t forget the parking at about #5, the average fan will spend $40.50 per game. That means that the Cactus League is down $305,005.50 in estimated gross revenue in just the first two weeks of Spring Training 2016.

But do Major League Baseball teams really care? They have huge revenue streams and with BAM about to go public as a separate IPO, the owners are set to get richer than ever. Their players enjoy some of the best wages in the world and certainly they have the best pension program in the history of the world. New local cable television packages are giving most of the teams more than they ever dreamed they would earn. And the gate isn’t that important any more.

In looking at the Cactus League this season, there are other things to consider.
The Southern California American League team with the longest name in sports has arguably the face of baseball in their magical centerfielder, Trout. But they are also the second fiddle to that team in Chavez Ravine.
The Oakland As’ have nothing except the new centerfielder from Milwaukee who can hit but can’t throw. Plus the move to Mesa has worn off. Plus, the team is always second in the Battle of the Bay.
The Cream City Nine is a AAA team disguised as a Major League outfit. Their star, Ryan Braun, finally played in his first game Wednesday. He got a hit and an RBI. So there. That is your draw. Besides, Lucroy is still almost with the team and if he continues to hit doubles, he will be unloaded as fast at Kareem was. Yet on a clear day you can see Mr. Baseball up in the booth.
The Cubbies have a dream. They have all the press behind them. This is gonna be the year at Wrigley. They are deep. They have the young players. They have the great manager. They have no parking. Watch out for dreams on the North Side of ChiTown. They tend to disappear.
The D’Backs have a new pitcher whom they signed for $zillion. No matter. They don’t have anything else except Goldie, although they are batting way above their head this spring. They have Tony at the helm.
The Dodgers are THE DODGERS. They will draw on a bad day at Black Rock (like the Hollywood analogy?).
The City’s big team occupy a favorite spot in the hearts of Cactus League fans as they were one of the first to come here more than a half a century ago. Besides, its an even year. And this is the team that plays at AT&T Park. And they have the best TV announcing team in the game today. All the more reason to see them and think of Racine Kringle.
The Tribe is the longest way from home but they have one of the most exciting teams to watch in baseball this year. They have a great young pitching staff. Still, they are a long way from home for their fans to travel and see.
The Mariners are the Mariners who will look like the Mariners all season long. They have a King, a 2bagger and really nothing else. Great weather in AZ cannot draw their fans down for a few days of high priced tickets and $250 hotel rooms.
The Padres just don’t have anything except Dick Enberg.
The Rangers have hope in Surprise but will the big pitcher come through this season and be injury free. Can Prince continue to bang the ball even though he suffers from Sleep Apnea? Besides they share a stadium with the World Champs.
The Reds are a long way from home as well and they have absolutely no reason to follow them besides they are the oldest team in the Major Leagues. And you can’t take that away from them no matter how badly they are managed in the front office. Who wants to travel this far to see them play? Even if you live in Scottsdale, the trip to Goodyear is forever.
The Rockies have a problem. They ask for high priced tickets and are not even the best team in town. They live in the shadow of a bunch from Elwayville. But they do play in one of the best stadiums in Spring Training anywhere.
The mighty Royals believe in themselves and that is all that counts. They are the Champions. Their fans follow them. They are the Champions. Their fans follow them. They are the Champions.
The White Sox are full of hope and The Hawk tells us like he sees them. This team is as good on paper as a watermark on quality paper. Can it stand up to what is on the field? And can they get the kid out of the clubhouse. Fans don’t want to see kids in the clubhouse. Thus the reason for their quandary. Who wants to travel to Camelback Ranch and not see the Dodgers? Bring back Bob Elson.

All in all, Spring Training is spring training. And as a spokesman for the world famous Milwaukee Brewers said it was premature to label spring training a disappointment. “To draw any conclusions at this time would be impossible,” said Tyler Barnes, a spokesman for the club. “Ultimately we expect our attendance will be at or close to what we have seen in the past.”

That, in a nutshell, is all you need to know about the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that has never won a World Series in 45 years and claimed only one pennant in a league it now longer belongs to. But who’s counting? #watchingattanasio

Play Ball!

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