billsportsmaps.com

June 3, 2017

Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball): map and chart of the 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada from the top 4 Independent leagues which reported attendance figures (American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League, Can-Am League)./ +CHS Field, the home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: Independent Leagues — admin @ 2:00 pm

/baseball_independent-leagues_2016-attendance-map_american-association_atlantic-league_can-am-league_frontier-league_post_f_.gif
Independent leagues: 2016 attendance-map, 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada (American Association, Atlantic League, Can-Am League, Frontier League)



By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2016 Independent Attendance by Average (by Kevin Reichard on September 19, 2016 at ballparkdigest.com).
-Independent baseball league/Current_leagues (en.wikipedia.org).
-independentbaseball.net.
-twitter.com/independentball.

    Major League Baseball, and by extension, Organized Baseball, has an antitrust exemption…

Organized Baseball is: the 30 Major League Baseball teams {2016 MLB paid-atttendance map}, plus all the 234 affiliated minor league baseball teams [aka MiLB teams], which the MLB teams co-fund and use as developmental teams for their rosters; plus the 16 unaffiliated Mexican League teams / {my latest map of the Mexican League}.

Independent leagues are, by definition, completely comprised of pro baseball teams which operate outside of Organized Baseball.
The Independent leagues are technically not even really minor leagues…but everybody considers them as such, and most observers within the world of pro baseball consider them to be equivalent to a caliber of play between Double-A and Advanced-A level minor league ball [ie, a caliber of skill between two and three levels below the Major Leagues]).

Major League Baseball (MLB) has antitrust exemption, dating back to a 1922 ruling that centered on the suit brought about by the owners of the defunct 1914 Federal League team the Baltimore Terrapins {see this article, Baseball’s Con Game – How did America’s pastime get an antitrust exemption?, from 2002 by David Greenberg at slate.com}. Basically, in 1922, the Supreme Court justices maintained – naively – that Major League Baseball is a game, not a business. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that “personal effort, not related to production, is not a subject of commerce”. What? Personal effort (ie, major league baseball players competing against each other) sure is related to production…just look at all that ticket revenue that MLB produces. Just look at those lucrative television contracts that MLB gets. Where did all that revenue come from? It came from personal effort (major league baseball players competing against each other). As Kavitha Dividson remarked at Bloomberg.com, “Nine decades later, the notion that professional baseball wouldn’t be considered commerce seems rather quaint. Not only is the “personal effort” of Major Leaguers an $8 billion product in and of itself, the lucrative national broadcast deals and growing audience for online streaming clearly place a significant chunk of business operations across state lines. Professional baseball can no longer be considered a local business, if it really ever could have been.” {Quote from, Antitrust Exemption Holds Baseball Back a Century (by Kavitha Davidson on April 8 2014 at bloomberg.com).}

There are many ways that this antitrust exemption affects things in the world of pro baseball. One is how the Oakland A’s franchise continues to get screwed by MLB and the San Francisco Giants…because the SF franchise owns the territory of San Jose, and MLB and the Giants have succeeded – in courts – from preventing the A’s from moving to San Jose. {See this: U.S. Supreme Court rejects San Jose’s bid to lure Oakland A’s (by Bob Egelko from Oct. 2015 at sfgate.com).} One of the latest ways the MLB antitrust exemption affects people within Organized Baseball is this: MLB scouts maintaining that they are being exploited {see this, Scouts Tell 2nd Circ. MLB Antitrust Exemption Doesn’t Apply (by Zachary Zagger on Jan. 23 2017 at law360.com)}. But here, I am only going to talk about how MLB’s antitrust exemption has inadvertently led to the success of most of the highest-drawing Independent leagues teams.

    Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball)…

Independent leagues have no affiliation with Major League Baseball – no player development contracts means the Independent leagues teams must pay for personnel and equipment. On the other hand, affiliated minor league teams have their WHOLE PAYROLL paid for them, by the Major League team…as it says in Wikipedia’s page on affiliated minor league baseball…“Generally, the parent major league club pays the salaries and benefits of uniformed personnel (players and coaches) and bats and balls, while the minor league club pays for in-season travel and other operational expenses…” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor League Baseball/Current system).

Independent leagues exist because MLB/Organized Baseball can actually ignore market forces…
There is essentially one reason why an Independent leagues team springs up in any given place. That is because the the ownership group in the municipality in question was unable to to secure an affiliated minor league team within Organized Baseball. With a few exceptions (the most prominent exception being the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX), the highest-drawing of these Independent teams are located in the Upper Midwest and in the Northeast (and to a lesser extent, in Canada). Generally, here and there, in Organized Baseball, there are poorly-drawing teams within the affiliated leagues above the Short-Season-A and the Rookie levels (like two A-level teams in the Midwest League, in Burlington, Iowa and in Beloit, Wisconsin, both of whom draw below 1.2 K in a league which drew 3.8 overall in 2016). But the real dead weight with respect to bad drawing mid-and-upper-level-MiLB teams can be found in two warm-weather locales. You see, MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball has two leagues that are, attendance-wise, real under-performers. Two leagues that are, to put it bluntly, a waste of space. I am speaking of two of the three Advanced-A-level leagues: the California League and the Florida State League. Year in, year out, these two leagues are chock full of teams that draw abysmally, especially since both regions have considerable populations. Last season [2016], 7 of the 10 California League teams drew below 2.5 K. And last season, 11 of the 12 Florida State League teams drew below the even lower bar of just 2.0 K. That is really bad attendance for a product that is just 3 levels below the Major Leagues. And this is happening in regions where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people live nearby. Actually, most of those bad drawing teams in the California and Florida Advance-A-level leagues have over a million people within an hours’ drive. And they still draw poorly.

How pathetic is the attendance in the California League and Florida State League?
Look at it this way…
-California League overall average attendance in 2016 was 2.1 K…worse than 23 Independent leagues teams.
-Florida State League overall average attendance in 2016 was 1.3 K…worse than 34 Independent leagues teams.
{Source of figures in last two paragraphs: 2016 Affiliated Attendance by League (ballparkdigest.com).}

Meanwhile, there are municipalities all over the Upper Midwest and the Northeast that could EASILY maintain successful affiliated minor league teams. But for one legitimate reason (Spring training ballparks/facilities in Florida that are already there anyways), and one bogus reason (the hidebound notion that California deserves an affiliated minor league of its own), MLB/Organized Baseball – thanks to its antitrust exemption – can afford to ignore market forces. And ignore the fact that there are scores of minor league franchises which would have far better support…if they relocated out of Florida and California. And into Midwestern and Northeastern towns which are dying for affiliated minor league ball.

So, though ignored by Organized Baseball, Independent leagues teams, located in places off-the-beaten-track, thrive. Like in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and in Fargo, North Dakota; and in Lincoln, Nebraska; and in Marion, southern Illinois. And Independent leagues teams located very near to MLB franchises? They really thrive (see next 3 paragraphs). If the vast majority of the fine folks of Florida and California could not give a rat’s ass about a great and affordable product (affiliated minor league baseball), then why the heck don’t these dead-weight teams move to where people would appreciate such a great product? Successful Independent leagues teams prove that there are an abundance of locales which Organized Baseball has ignored, thanks to its de-facto-monopoly status. And don’t forget, these are Independent teams with basically no brand-name drawing-power. Yet they are outdrawing teams – affiliated minor league ball clubs – that are part of world-renowned brand-names (the Major League teams).

The positive side of no MLB affiliation…
The positive side of no MLB affiliation means Independent leagues franchises are not bound to abide by MLB’s onerous territorial mandates. Mandates which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce because of their antitrust exemption. For example, MLB allows no affiliated minor league baseball teams to be located in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY (ie, Long Island) [to protect the NY Mets]; as well as no other affiliated teams in southeast-central-Pennsylvania [to protect the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated minor league baseball teams the Reading Fightin Phils and the Harrisburg Senators]. So Independent leagues teams have sprung up in those 2 areas and have done very well drawing customers [the Long Island Ducks in Nassau County, New York; the York Revolution and the Lancaster Barnstormers in south-eastern Pennsylvania].

Basically, Organized Baseball usually does not put its affiliated minor league teams within the 75-mile-radius territory of the 30 MLB teams – with a few exceptions such as in: Tacoma, WA; Reading, PA; Toledo, OH; San Jose, CA; Tampa and Clearwater, FL; and, recently (in the last 20 years), in Dayton, OH; and in Bridgewater Township, NJ; and in Brooklyn, NY and in Staten Island, NY. But Independent leagues teams, again, can ignore MLB’s territorial edicts. Hence the (successful) Independent leagues teams such as…the St. Paul Saints of St. Paul, MN (right next to MLB’s Minnesota Twins); and the Kansas City T-Bones of Kansas City, KS (right next to MLB’s Kansas City Royals); and the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX (right next to MLB’s Houston Astros); and the Somerset Patriots of Somerset County, NJ (relatively close by to MLB’s New York Yankees and New York Mets).

It is no coincidence that 5 of the 6 the top-drawing Independent teams would not be allowed to exist within Organized Baseball…
Five of the six highest-drawing Independent leagues teams (which all draw above 4-K-per-game) are located in places very near to MLB teams (ie, well within the 75-mile-radius protected areas [thanks to their antitrust exemption], which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce with respect to affiliated minor league teams):
1). St. Paul Saints: drawing 8.4 K/ St. Paul, MN [Minnesota Twins' territory].
2). Long Island Ducks: 5.2 K/ Nassau County, Long Island, NY [NY Mets' territory].
3). Somerset Patriots: 5.2 K/ Somerset County, NJ. [NY Yankees'/NY Mets' territory].
4). Winnipeg Goldeyes: 4.8 K/ Winnipeg, MB, Canada [no MLB team nearby].
5). Sugar Land Skeeters: 4.4 K/ Sugar Land, TX [Houston Astros' territory].
6). Kansas City T-Bones: 4.2 K/ Kansas City, KS [Kansas City Royals' territory].

The biggest problem Independent leagues teams face is overhead…
Again, Independent leagues teams get zero support from MLB/Organized Baseball, whereas affiliated minor league teams (being part of MLB/Organized Baseball) basically get their whole teams’ salaries (and some of their gear) paid for. So Independent leagues teams live a precarious financial existence, and are very prone to becoming defunct, and are almost completely reliant on ticket revenue and concessions to remain in business. In fact, last season [2016], the two lowest-drawing teams, of the four Independent leagues featured on the map here, both went out of business (Joplin and Laredo/see next section below). The following article from the Wall Street Journal explores just how precarious Independent baseball teams’ finances are…
-{How Independent Baseball Teams Make Money. Or Don’t. For unaffiliated teams, it takes gimmicks, cost cutting and a lot of luck (by Andrew Beaton on Aug. 24 2105 from wsj.com)}.

    What the map-and-chart of Independent ball clubs shows…

The main map is of USA and Canada; the inset-map is of the Northeast of the US. The two maps show the 38 Independent leagues teams in the USA & Canada which reported attendances figures (from home regular season games) in 2016, and which drew over 500-per-game…plus 2 new teams (see next paragraph). The 500-per-game cut-off is why I did not include the 4 teams from the Pacific Association, whose 4 teams only drew between 437 and 69 per game. The fact that some Independent league do not report attendance figures is why the map-and-chart does not feature teams from 3 other Independent leagues…the Empire League, the Pecos League, and the United Shore League {for info on those leagues, see this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_baseball_league#Current_leagues}. If you are wondering why those three Independent leagues don’t report attendance figures, well, it is almost certainly because those teams in those leagues do not draw very well.

On the map, two of the teams [from the American Association] are now defunct: the Joplin Blasters, and the Laredo Lemurs. It is no coincidence that those two teams happened to be the two worst-drawing teams in the 4 leagues that the map depicts. Because, as mentioned earlier, Independent leagues teams basically live or die by their attendance figures, that being their only real source of revenue. Those two teams have been replaced in the American Association by one expansion team and one team that has moved over from the aforementioned Pecos League. The brand-new franchise for 2017 is the Cleburne Railroaders of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. The franchise that has jumped over from the Pecos League to the American Association is the Salina Stockade (of Salina, Kansas). And finally, there is one franchise, in the Atlantic League, that has been recently relocated – the New Britain Bees (est. 2016) [of Greater Hartford, CT], who were the Camden Riversharks previously, but moved from Camden, NJ [Greater Philadelphia, PA] to Connecticut after the 2015 season. Here is an example of an Independent team filling the gap left by the lack of an affiliated MiLB team, because New Britain, CT had a Double-A MiLB team (the New Britain Rock Cats), until that franchise moved 12 miles up the road to Hartford, as the Hartford YardGoats, in 2016 {here’s a Double-A [affiliated MiLB] map I made in 2016, which mentions the new Hartford ball club}. That Camden-NJ-to-New-Britain-CT-franchise-move is shown on the map-page in the inset-map of the Northeast US.

The teams on the map have their primary cap-logo shown, as well as a circle in their team-colors.
The team-color-circles are sized to depict each team’s drawing-power (the higher their average attendance is, the larger their team-colors-circle is).

At the right-hand side of the map page is a chart that lists 5 things:
A). Teams’ attendance-rank within Independent leagues baseball.
B). The Independent league which each team is in.
C). The teams’ 2016 average attendance…regular season home games/ source: 2016 Independent Attendance by Average (ballparkdigest.com).
D). Teams’ year-of-establishment [first season they played].
E). Teams’ City-and-State-location (plus County-location, if that is part of any given team’s name).

The teams on the map are from the following 4 Independent leagues…
-American Association [American Association of Independent Professional Baseball], all 12 teams, including 2 defunct teams (see 3 paragraphs above), and including 2 new teams: the Cleburne Railroaders (est. 2017) [of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX], and the Salina Stockade (est. 2016/former Pecos League team) [of Salina, KS]). (American Association est. 2006/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: Plains States (Dakotas to Texas); one team from Indiana; one team from Manitoba, Canada.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,156.
-Atlantic League [Atlantic League Professional Baseball], all 8 teams (including the 2016-relocated-team the New Britain Bees [of Greater Hartford, CT]). (Atlantic League est. 1998/ 8 teams in 2017/ range: Northeast; and Greater Houston, Texas.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,939 [best-drawing Independent league].
-Frontier League, all 12 teams. (Frontier League est. 1993/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: half the teams [6 teams] from Illinois; one team each from: Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, western Pennsylvania.) 2016 overall average attendance: 2,390.
-Can-Am League [Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball], all 6 teams. (Can-Am League est. 2005, but from 2012-15 it played an interlocking schedule with the American Association/ 6 teams in 2017/ range: 2 teams in New Jersey, one team in New York; 2 teams in Quebec, Canada, one team in Ontario, Canada. 2016 overall average attendance: 2,241.

[Note: to see other high-drawing Independent leagues teams (illustrations for 5 other teams), see my earlier post on Independent leagues baseball (from 2014).]

    The St. Paul Saints – the highest-drawing Independent baseball team (in 2015 and in 2016)…

In 2015, after 22 years at the inadequate Midway Stadium, the St. Paul Saints moved into CHS Field in the Lowerton district of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, in area once full of industrial warehouses. The ballpark was opened on May 21, 2015. It was built with state funding of $25 million, combined with a $47.5 million outlay shared by the city of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Saints. The venue is owned by the city of Saint Paul, and is operated by the St. Paul Saints. It has a fixed-seating-capacity of 7,210. Plus, there is around another 1,000-or-so extra-capacity seating: on both a grass berm behind the left-field fence (see second-to-last photo below), and in bar-style seats all along the sprawling street-level concourse which makes up the main part of the stadium-structure (see 4th, 5th, and 6th photos, below). The stadium is breathtaking in a very understated way, with its light-steel-frame pavilion, its open-air layout, and its stunning full-length red-cedar-ceiling-canopy. The architect, Julie Snow, intended for the ballpark’s design to take a warehouse and “turn it inside-out” (see article linked to at the end of this paragraph, for more on that). The new venue is a remarkable step up from the ramshackle Midway Stadium, which co-owner Mike Veeck used to “boast” was “the ugliest ballpark in America!” {quote from the Wikipedia page, here}. Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball-owner-and-maverick Bill Veeck, Jr., is co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, along with actor/comedian Bill Murray, and others who make up the The Goldklang Group, a consortium who have a controlling interest in 4 minor league teams. Mike Veeck’s motto is “Fun is Good”, which is a sentiment I think very few could argue with. Here is an article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on the opening day in May 2015 at the CHS Field in St. Paul, If ‘Fun is good,’ opening a new ballpark’s way better (by Jim Souhan at startribune.com).

The St. Paul Saints had long been a top-draw in Independent leagues baseball, and in their last season at Midway Stadium (in 2014), the Saints had the third-best average attendance in the Independent leagues, at 5.2 K, behind fellow-American-Association team the Winnipeg Goldeyes (at 5.6 K), and the Atlantic League team the Sugar Land Skeeters (at 5.5 K). {2014 Independent attendances, baseballpilgrimages.com/ [2014 Independent leagues].} But since their new ballpark opened, the St. Paul Saints have now become the best-drawing Independent ball club, by a considerable margin, of over 3 thousand per game. The Saints drew 8.0 K in the ballpark’s first year (in 2015). That meant they played to over eight-hundred-standing-room-only each game (8.0 K in a 7.2-K-seated-capacity stadium). {2015 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com [2015 Independent leagues].} Then last year, word-of-mouth must have spread through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, about the sweet new venue in town…because the Saints drew even better in 2016, at 8.4 K (which is an astounding 1.2-K-above-seated-capacity).

The second-best and third-best-drawing Independent leagues teams in 2016 were two Atlantic League teams from Greater New York City…the Long Island Ducks (est. 2000), of Central Islip, NY, at 5.2 K, and the Somerset Patriots (est. 1998), of Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, NJ, who also drew 5.2 K. {2016 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com/ [2015 Independent leagues].} {Again, if you would like to see illustrations for the Long Island Ducks and the Somerset Patriots (and 3 of the other best-drawing Independent leagues teams, click here.}

Below: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America…
independent-leagues_highest-drawing-team-2016_st-paul-saints_chs-field_st-paul_mn_r_.gif"
Photo and Image credits above –
Saints ball cap, photo from St. Paul Saints team store, saints-crossing.com. Aerial shot of ballpark, photo by John Autey/Pioneer Prees via twincities.com/2016/05/07/photos-the-twin-cities-from-the-air. Exterior shot of main entrance, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of main entrance on opening day, photo by St Paul Saints at saintsbaseball.com/the-saints-experience/2017-schedule. Interior shot of concourse (empty), photo by Paul Crosby via aia-mn.org/chs-field. Interior shots of concourse during a game-day, photos by hsnowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Shot of Saints players warming up with main stand in background, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of outfield lawn seating, photo by CHS Field via postbulletin.com/chs-field-combines-art-baseball-in-st-paul. Shot of full-capacity-crowd at sunset, photo by Paul Crosby at archdaily.com/chs-field-snow-kreilich-architects.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
Some logos on the map page are from photos…
-Schaumburg Boomers cap logo, from photo at: boomersbaseball.com/fanzone/news/2013/288/boomers-end-of-season-clearance-sale/.
-Sugar Land Skeeters cap logo, from photo at: cdn3.volusion.com/zvscs.sfcdt/v/vspfiles/photos/OC100-1.jpg.
-Winnipeg Goldeyes cap logo, from photo at: pinterest.com/pin/384987468116306796/.

-Thanks to NuclearVacuum, at Wikimedia Commons, for the base map (blank map) of North America, at ‘File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Thanks to the contributors at Independent baseball/Current leagues (en.wikipedia.org).

April 23, 2017

Mexico: 2017 Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2016 figures), with active-clubs titles list./ + Top three drawing teams (Monterrey, Tijuana, Yucatán).

Filed under: Baseball,Mexico: Béisbol — admin @ 9:33 pm

mexico_baseball_2017-liga-mexicana-de-beisbol_mexican-league_attendance-map_2016_post_b_.gif
Mexico: 2017 Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2016 figures), with active-clubs titles list


By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Current teams…Mexican League/Current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Equipos temporada…Liga Mexicana de Béisbol/Equipos temporada (es.wikipedia.org).
-2016 Mexican League attendance…Mexican League: Attendance [set at 2016/sortable for current attendances & archived back to -2005] (milb.com/milb/stats).
-2016 attendances for all 15 MiLB leagues which report attendance figures (incl. Mexican League) [ie, all leagues within Organized Baseball from Rookie leagues up through A-League, Double-A, and Triple-A which report attendances]…ballparkdigest.com/2016/09/09/2016-affiliated-attendance-by-league.
-Mexican League scores, standings, schedule…milb.com/LMB [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League)] (official site).
-My first map & post on Mexican League baseball (from 2011), which includes more info on teams and uniforms, Baseball in Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League), 2011.

    The top three drawing béisbol teams in the Mexican League (Monterrey, Tijuana, Yucatán)…

Sultanes de Monterrey: best-drawing team in the Mexican League for 5 years (2012-16)
Despite being not the largest, or even the second-largest city in Mexico, Monterrey is the home of the highest-drawing Mexican béisbol team, the Sultanes de Monterrey. (Monterrey is also the home of the 2 highest-drawing 1st division Mexican fútbol teams (CF Monterrey, and Tigres UANL) {see this map, with attendance figures, of Liga MX that I made earlier in 2017}.)

The Sultanes de Monterrey have led the Mexican League in attendance for 5 straight seasons now (2012-16), replacing Saltillo as the top draw. The Sultanes drew 12.7 K per game in 2016. The Sultanes’ stadium, Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey (aka Estadio Mobil Super) is the largest baseball venue in Mexico (capacity 27,000). The city of Monterrey is in the state of Nueva León, and has a metro-area population of around 4.1 million [2010 figure]. {Metropolitan areas of Mexico.}

The Sultanes de Monterrey wear New-York-Yankees-style navy-blue-with-pinstripes. One of their logos mimics the font of the Yankees’ N-Y crest (see it below in 3rd photo), while also including the iconic mountain (Cerro de la Silla) that overlooks their ballpark {here’s a recent [2014] shot of their home uniform and with that logo on their batting helmet}.
sultanes-de-monterrey_estadio-beisbol-monterrey_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Sultanes de Monterrey cap logo, photo from lids.com/sultanes-de-monterrey-new-era. Aerial shot of stadium with mountain in background, photo by Especial at periodicoabc.mx. Aerial shot of Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey, photo unattributed at purobeisbol.mx. Interior shot of stadium during a game, photo unattributed at skyscrapercity.com/[thread: ARQUITECTURA | Estadios | Información y fotografías. Interior shot during game, photo unattributed at laaficion.milenio.com/beisbol/mil-fans-Estadio-Monterrey_MILIMA20160404_0018_11.jpg.

...

Toros de Tijuana - a relocated team that has now become the 2nd-best-drawing team in the Mexican League...
The Petroleros de Minatitlán [Minatitlán Oilers] franchise moved to Tijuana after the 2013 season, to become the Toros de Tijuana (II). (The south-central-Gulf-Coast-based Petroleros were one of the lowest-drawing teams in the Mexican League, drawing only in the 1.4-K-to-2.3-K-range in their last 5 seasons.) Now the Toros de Tijuana have become the 2nd-best draw in the Mexican League. The Toros drew 9.3 K per game in 2016, in their ballpark, the 16-K-capacity Estadio Gasmart.

Tijuana is, of course, right across the border from San Diego, California, and is actually part of the Greater San Diego/Tijuana metro-area. Tijuana, located in the state of Baja California, is the 6th-largest metro-area in Mexico (with a population of around 1.7 million [2010 figure]).

The Toros de Tijuana wear black-and-deep-red colors.
toros-de-tijuana_estadio-gasmart_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Estadio Gasmart, photo unattributed at agpnoticias.com/news/lista-fiesta-de-apertura-de-toros-de-tijuana. Shot of main stands at Estadio Gasmart, photo unattributed at el-fanatico.com. Shot of outfield terrace area at Estadio Gasmart, with glass-walled-outfield-fence, photo from hotelpuebloamigo.com. Cropped image of 2017 black Toros jersey, photo by torosdetijuana.com.

Leones de Yucatán: after renovating their ballpark, they have almost doubled their crowd-size (from 4.6 K to 9.1 K, in two years)…
The Leones (Lions) are from the city of Mérida, which in the state of Yucatán, in southeastern Mexico. Mérida is the 12th-largest metro-area in the country (with a population of around 970,000 [2010 figure]).

In 2015, after renovating their ballpark (the 16-K-capacity Parque Kukulcán Alamo), the Leones de Yucatán almost doubled their attendance, going from 4.6 K per game in 2014, to 8.9 K per game in 2015. Then in 2016, they saw a bit more of an increase in crowd-size, drawing 9.1 K per game.

The Leones de Yucatán wear dark-green-and-orange colors, and they also have an alternate color-scheme of dark-green-and bright-neon-green.
leones-de-yucatan_parque-kukulcán_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Renovation of El Kukulcán Álamo, photos unattributed at purobeisbol.mx/[17 March 2016]. Large crowd at El Kukulcán Álamo stadium circa June 2015, photo unattributed at beisbolcampechano.blogspot.com/2015/07/record-de-asistencia-en-el-parque. Night game. photo unattributed at peninsuladeportiva.com.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of Mexico, by Addicted04 at File:MEX orthographic.svg at Mexico (en.wikipedia.org).
-Map of Mexico, by Yavidaxiu at File:Mexico blank.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Some circular-cap-logos on the map include photos or banner illustrations, from the following links…
-Toros de Tijuana (Tijuana Toros), illustration of T-J logo, from banner at torosdetijuana.com.
-Saraperos de Saltillo (Saltillo Sarape Makers) teal home cap, photo of Gothic-S-with-sarape logo from neweraaustraliasale.com/saraperos.
-Vaqueros Unión Laguna, photo from twitter.com/mendivil2129. jpg
-Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen (Ciudad del Carmen Dolphins) dark-purple home cap, photo of bright-green-C [part of the logo], from lids.com/mexican-league/delfines.
-Guerreros de Oaxaca (Oaxaca Warriors), photo of the O-a-x logo on home cap from newhatsite.net/oaxaca-guerreros.
-Piratas de Campeche (Campeche Pirates), photo of logo, from tienda.newera.mx.
-Generales de Durango (Durango Generals), photo of home cap logo, from elsiglodetorreon.com.mx.
-Bravos de Leon, photo of home cap logo, from twitter.com/lmbbravosleon.
-Tigres de Quintana Roo (Quintana Roo Tigers), photo of cap logo from tienda.newera.mx .
-Rojos del Águila de Veracruz (Veracruz Red Eagles), photo of cap logo from tienda.newera.mx

-Team info, etc…
Mexican League [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol] (en.wikipedia.org).

April 2, 2017

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration for: Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5-K-attendance-increase in 2 year span./+ Illustration for: Chicago Cubs (2016 World Series champions).

mlb_2016-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-2015_post_e_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures



By Bill Turianski on 2 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2016 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2016 (espn.go.com).
-Attendance change (2016 v. 2015)…Change in Baseball Attendance (2016 vs. 2015) (baseball-reference.com).

-From Baseball Pilgrimages.com…2016 MLB Ballpark Attendance [with notes] (baseballpilgrimages.com).

-From Forbes.com…MLB Hits 73.159 Million In Attendance, 11th Highest All-Time, Down Slightly From 2015 (by Maury Brown at forbes.com).

-From Waiting For Next Year.com…Let’s talk about Cleveland Indians attendance (by Jacob Rosen at waitingfornextyear.com).

    For the fourth-straight season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the highest average paid-attendance, at 45,719 per game.

Last season [2016], the Dodgers drew 45.7 K, and played to 81.6 percent-capacity at Dodger Stadium. And also for the 4th-straight year, the St. Louis Cardinals had the second-highest attendance, at 42.5 K at Busch Stadium (III). The San Francisco Giants filled their ballpark, AT&T park, the best, at 99.1 percent-capacity, and they drew 41.5 K (the 4th-highest attendance). Three other teams also played to near-full-capacity…the St. Louis Cardinals at 96.7 precent-capacity, the Chicago Cubs at 96.6 percent-capacity at the renovated Wrigley Field, and the Boston Red Sox at 96.1 percent-capacity at Fenway Park. The 5th-best at filling their venue was the Toronto Blue Jays, who played to an 84.9 percent-capacity, and have now increased their crowds at Rogers Centre [aka Skydome] by over 12 thousand per game in the past two seasons [since 2014] (see below)…

Best attendance increases in 2016…2016 average paid-attendance versus 2015 average paid-attendance [with attendance-rank shown]…
Toronto Blue Jays +7,376…41,880 in 2016 [#3] vs. 34,504 in 2015 [#8].
Chicago Cubs +3,366…39,906 in 2016 [#5] vs. 36,540 in 2015 [#6].
New York Mets +3,145…34,870 in 2016 [#9] vs. 31,725 [#12].
Texas Rangers +2,698…33,461 in 2016 [#10] vs. 30,763 [#16].
Houston Astros +1,889…28,476 in 2016 [#17] vs. 26,587 [#22].
Cleveland Indians +1,844…19,650 in 2016 [#28] vs. 17,806 in 2015 [#29].

Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5 K attendance increase in 2 years…
Not only did Toronto have a 7.37 K increase in attendance in 2016, Toronto had a 5.17 K increase in 2015 (versus 29,327 per game in 2014). So, that means the Toronto Blue Jays have increased their paid-attendance by a little over 12,500 per game in two years! Talk about reviving a moribund franchise. That just goes to show you that investing in a competitive team (as the Blue Jays have done these past 3 seasons) usually pays off at the turnstile. (Usually, but definitely not in the case of the Cleveland Indians, who had a banner season in 2016, winning the AL pennant and coming up just short of a championship, yet the Tribe failed to even draw 20 K per game during the regular season. Cleveland is simply NOT a baseball town; see link to article on the Indians’ bad attendance, further above. But I digress.)

In 2016, Toronto drew over 3 million for the first time in 23 years. [Note: drawing over 3 million means the team averages above 36.5 K per game.] As the following article at SB Nation points out, “comparing 2016 to 2014, average attendance at Rogers Centre was up 43%, or over 1,000,000 fans for the season.” (quote by Jon Shell from this article: A Business Case For A Much Higher Payroll at bluebirdbanter.com from Nov. 6 2016).

toronto-blue-jays_2014-to-2016_12-k-attendance-increase_rogers-centre_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Blue Jays home cap, illustration from sportslogos.net. Aerial shot of CN Tower and Rogers Centre, photo by destinocanadatoronto.blogspot.com. Exterior shot of Rogers Centre at night, photo by Empty Quarter at Toronto Flickr Pool via torontoist.com. Aerial shot of Rogers Centre, photo unattributed at blogto.com. Shot of full house at Rogers Centre [circa 2015], photo unattributed at engineeringharmonics.com. Fans cheering at Rogers Centre during 2015 playoffs, photo by Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via citynews.ca.

Notes on stadium capacities…
-Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park has different capacities for night games (37,673) and day games (37,227). {See this article I wrote from 2016/scroll half-way down text for Fenway section}.
-Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field has been undergoing extensive renovations, and the renovations are planned to continue on up to spring 2019. In 2016, capacity was increased slightly, by 329, from 40,929 to 41,268. The capacity will most likely change again in the next 2-to-3 years, but probably not by a significant amount.
-Atlanta Braves played their final season at Turner Field in Atlanta in 2016. The team has moved into the suburbs, into Cumberland, Cobb County, GA (10 miles NW of downtown Atlanta). Their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, will have a capacity of 41,500. (That is a significant capacity-reduction, of around 4.4 K, as Turner Field’s seated-capacity was 45,986.)
-Both the teams below (Oakland and Tampa Bay) have tarps covering their upper-deck seats, which doesn’t change the fact that those seats are empty…
-O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 33.5.)
-Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 37.1.).

    Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series winners (the Cubs’ first World Series title in 108 years)…

Best Cubs players in 2016 as measured by WAR (wins after replacement)…
Kris Bryant (3B) 7.7 WAR (39 HR, 121 RBI, .385 OBP).
Anthony Rizzo (1B) 5.7 WAR (32 HR, 109 RBI, .385 OBP).
Jon Lester (LHP) 5.2 WAR (19-5, 2.44 ERA, 202.7 IP).
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) 4.9 WAR (16-8, 2.13 ERA, 190 IP).
Addison Russell (SS) 4.3 WAR (21 HR, 95 RBI, .321 OBP).

Cubs win ! Cubs win ! Cubs win !
chicago-cubs_2016-ws-champions_joe-maddon_kris-bryant_anthony-rizzo_jon-lester_kyle-hendricks_addison-russell_javier-baez_ben-zobrist_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Wrigley Field with “CHAMPIONS” displayed on jumbotron-scoreboard, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.
Joe Maddon, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Kris Bryant, screenshot from video (uploaded by Sporting Videos at youtube.com.
Anthony Rizzo, photos by John Durr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com & zimbio.com.
Jon Lester, photo by David Kohl/USA Today via usatoday.com/mlb.
Kyle Hendricks, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Addison Russell, photo by Elsa/Gety Images via wgntv.com. aru
Shot of Cubs players and coaching staff after game 5 win over Dodgers in 2016 NLCS (with traveling Cubs fans’ “W” banners held aloft in background), photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via chron.com/sports. Shot of Cubs players’ celebration after final out, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via sports.yahoo.com. Shot of Cubs fans outside Wrigley after final out, screenshot of NBC News video, at nbcnews.com/news/sports. Shot of Javier Báez stealing home (v Dodgers in Game 1 of NLCS), photo by AP at dailyherald.com. Shot of Ben Zobrist on 2nd base, after doubling in lead run in 10th inning of WS Game 7, photo by Al Tielemans at gettyimages.com. Shot of brick wall outside of Wrigley that fans decorated with chalk and paint, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

June 10, 2016

Affiliated Double A minor league baseball (MiLB): location-map of 3 leagues, the Eastern League, the Southern League, the Texas League (2015 attendances)/+ the 3 new teams in Double-A baseball since 2011 (Pensacola, Biloxi, Hartford)/+ illustrations for the 4 highest-drawing Double-A teams in 2015 (Frisco, Birmingham, Richmond, Reading).

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Double-A — admin @ 2:58 pm

double-a_map-2015-attendances_milb_eastern-league_southern-league_texas-league_post_f_.gif
Affiliated Double A minor league baseball (MiLB): location-map of 3 leagues, the Eastern League (EL), the Southern League (SL), the Texas League (TX): map with 2015 attendances




Links…
-Teams in Double-A ball…Double-A (baseball) (en.wikipedia.com).
-Official site of the Eastern League…Double-A/Eastern League.
-Official site of the Southern League…Double-A/Southern League.
-Official site of the Texas League…Double-A/Texas League.
-2015 Affiliated Attendance by League…2015 Affiliated Attendance by League (by Kevin Reichard at ballparkdigest.com).
-2015 Affiliated Attendance by Average.. 2015 -Affiliated Attendance by Average (by Kevin Reichard at ballparkdigest.com).

-Top 100 MiLB caps in 2014 [fan vote]…Clash of the Caps – Who has the best caps in the minor leagues? [2014 season] [#1: El Paso Chihuahuas]…(milb.com/milb/fans/caps).
-Top 100 MiLB caps in 2015 [fan vote]…Clash of the Caps – Who has the best caps in the minor leagues? [2015 season] [#1: Daytona Tortugas]…(milb.com/milb/fans/caps).

-Here is the Double-A map I made from April 2011, Minor League Baseball: the 3 Double-A leagues…the Eastern League, the Southern League, and the Texas League. Map, with all 30 teams’ 2010 average attendances, locations, and MLB affiliations.

    The 3 new teams in Double-A baseball since 2011
    (2012: Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 2015: Biloxi Shuckers, 2016: Hartford Yard Goats)…

-2012, Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League – the Carolina League [Single-A/Class-A-Advanced level] Kinston, NC franchise moved ~58 miles north-west to the Greater Raleigh-Durham, NC area [in Zebulon, NC], as the Carolina Mudcats (II) /meanwhile, the Carolina Mudcats (I) franchise (est. 1991) moved from Zebulon, NC to Pensacola, FL as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos [and also thereby moved up a level from the Single-A/Class-A Advanced level, to the Double-A level]. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (en.wikipedia.org).
{See this small franchise-shift-graphic from March 2012, billsportsmaps.com/carolina-mudcats-II_kinston-to-zebulon_zebulon-to-pensacola.}

-2015, Biloxi Shuckers of the Southern League – the Huntsville, AL franchise moved ~328 miles south to Biloxi, MS as the Biloxi Shuckers. Biloxi Shuckers. (en.wikipedia.org). From Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos site, from November 2014, by Chris Creamer, Introducing the Biloxi Shuckers (news.sportslogos.net).

-2016, Hartford Yard Goats of the Eastern League – the New Britain, CT franchise has moved ~12.5 miles north to Hartford, CT as the Hartford Yard Goats. Hartford Yard Goats (en.wikipedia.org). From the New York Times, from June 28 2015, by Kristin Hussey, Hartford Yard Goats? The Name Isn’t a Hit Yet (nytimes.com/nyregion). Hartford ballpark will not be ready for opening day 2016…Yard Goats Deal Would Have Stadium Ready May 31; Hartford, Team, Developer All Kick In Millions ([Hartford] courant.com).

2015 overall league-average attendances for the 3 Double-A leagues…
Texas League: 5,181 per game overall.
Eastern League: 4,580 per game overall.
Southern League: 3,605 per game overall.

    The 4 highest-drawing ball clubs in Double-A baseball in 2015 (all Double-A teams which drew over 6 K per game)
    Frisco RoughRiders (TL), Birmingham Barons (SL), Richmond Flying Squirrels (EL), Reading Fighting Phils (EL)…

Frisco RoughRiders (Texas League) [the Double-A farm team of the Texas Rangers]…
Frisco, Texas is about 25 miles N of Dallas, TX; and Frisco is about 42 miles NNE of where their parent-club the Texas Rangers are located, in Arlington, TX. In 2015, the Frisco RoughRiders (est. 2003), once again drew the highest in Double-A baseball, at 6,918 per game at their Dr. Pepper Ballpark. That figure of 6.9 K was also the 20th-best minor-league-baseball attendance – out of the 176 MiLB teams which report attendance figures [176 teams within 14 MiLB leagues].
frisco-roughriders_dr-pepper-ballpark_best-crowds-in-double-a_h_.gif
Photo credits above –
Aerial shot at twilight of Dr. Pepper Ballpark twilight, photo unattributed at sportstravelmagazine.com. Interior shot of main grandstand at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, photo unattributed at activerain.com/blogsview/dr-pepper-ballpark-in-frisco-texas. Interior shot of Dr. Pepper Ballpark during a night game (photo circa 2015), photo by Frisco RoughRiders via milb.com/[Frisco tickets].

Birmingham Barons (Southern League) [the Double-A farm team of the Chicago White Sox]….
Birmingham, at 6,352 per game had the 24th-highest MiLB attendance in 2015.
birmingham-barons_regions-field_b_.gif
Photo credits above –
Exterior shot of Regions Field’s distinctive giant aluminum-clad BIRMINGHAM sign, photo by Pac-Clad Petersen Aluminum at pac-clad.com. Interior shot of Regions Field from the 1st base stands, photo from 2014 by Mark Almond/malmond@al.co at al.com.

Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) [the Double-A farm team of the San Francisco Giants]….
Richmond, at 6,055 per game, had the 27th-highest MiLB attendance in 2015.
richmond-flying-squirrels_the-diamond_b_.gif
Photo credits above –
Interior shot from 2nd deck of the Diamond, photo by Richmond Flying Squirrels at linkedin.com/company/richmond-flying-squirrels. Interior shot from 1st base side of 1st deck of the Diamond during the 2015 home opener, photo by Dean Hoffmeyer at richmond.com/sports/flying-squirrels.

Reading Fighting Phils (Eastern League) [the Double-A farm team of the Philadelphia Phillies]….
Reading, at 6,044 per game, had the 28th-highest MiLB attendance in 2015.
reading-fighting-phils_firstenergy-stadium_b_.gif
Photo credits above –
Interior shot of main stand at FirstEnergy Stadium, photo by Reading Fighting Phils at milb.com/[Reading attendance history, 1987-2015]. View from outfield swimming pool at FirstEnergy Stadium, photo by Malcolm Macmillan at theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/tag/reading-fightin-phils. View from leftfield dining deck booths at FirstEnergy Stadium, photo by Malcolm Macmillan at theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/tag/reading-fightin-phils.
___
Thanks to BallparkDigest.com, for attendance figures, 2015 Affiliated Attendance by League (ballparkdigest.com).
Thanks to the contributors at:
Double-A (baseball) (en.wikipedia.com).
Thanks to AMK1211 for blank map of USA, ‘File:Blank US Map with borders.svg”>File:Blank US Map with borders.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to milb.com for photos of Akron, Biloxi, Corpus Christie, Midland, Mobile, Reading, Springfield cap-logos, here.

May 29, 2016

Affiliated Triple-A minor league baseball (MiLB): location-map of 2 leagues, the Pacific Coast League (PCL) & the International League (IL) – with 2015 attendances and MLB-team-affiliations noted./ + illustrations for: the highest-drawing MiLB team in 2015, the Charlotte Knights & the 3rd-highest drawing team in MiLB in 2015, the Sacramento River Cats.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Triple-A — admin @ 9:39 pm

pacific-coast-league_international-league_map_2015-attendances_post_e_.gif
Affiliated Triple-A baseball: location-map of 2 leagues, the Pacific Coast League (PCL) & the International League (IL), w/ 2015 attendances and MLB-team-affiliations noted




By Bill Turianski on 29 May 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Official site of the International League…Triple-A International League [MiLB].
-International League/current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site of the Pacific Coast League…Triple-A Pacific Coast League [MiLB].
-Pacific Coast League (en.wikipedia.org).
-2015 Affiliated Attendance by League… 2015 Affiliated Attendance by League (by Kevin Reichard at ballparkdigest.com).
-2015 Affiliated Attendance by Average.. 2015 Affiliated Attendance by Average (by Kevin Reichard at ballparkdigest.com).

-Article on Norfolk Tides’ bizarre new bright-green/orange/black/turquoise/grey uniforms…Tides Unveil New Creative Identity) [article, with 5 disparaging comments by angry Norfolk fans] (milb.com/news).

-Top 100 MiLB caps in 2014 [fan vote]…Clash of the Caps – Who has the best caps in the minor leagues? [2014 season] [#1: El Paso Chihuahuas]…(milb.com/milb/fans/caps).
-Top 100 MiLB caps in 2015 [fan vote]…Clash of the Caps – Who has the best caps in the minor leagues? [2015 season] [#1: Daytona Tortugas]…(milb.com/milb/fans/caps).

    Affiliated Triple-A minor league baseball (MiLB):
    Location-map of the 2 leagues, the Pacific Coast League (PCL) & the International League (IL) -
    with 2015 attendances and MLB-team-affiliations noted

By Bill Turianski on 11 April 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

Elements of the map page…
The location-map shows the top-minor-league/AAA affiliate of each Major League Baseball team – 30 teams from one of two Triple-A leagues: the Pacific Coast League (PCL) & the International League (IL). On the map, the teams are shown with their home-cap-crest and the cap-crest of their MLB parent-club. Flanking the map are the 2015 attendances of the teams, with the PCL teams on the far left of the map, and the International League teams on the far right. Listed in both the PCL & IL league-charts are:
1). 2015 Attendance figures (home regular season average attendance),
2). Change in crowd-size from previous season (numerical change from 2014),
3). Ballpark name,
4). Ballpark city-location,
5). Ballpark capacity (total capacity and seated capacities),
6). Year the ballpark was opened.

Finally, a line has been inserted on the map, running north from the Florida panhandle, through the middle of Tennessee, then jogging west in Kentucky, and then running north again between Indiana and Illinois. This line denotes the division between the PCL-territory (to the west of the line), and the IL-territory (to the east of the line). In case you are wondering, the furthest-east PCL team – the Nashville Sounds, is slightly west of the furthest-west IL team – the Indianapolis Indians. In other words, there is no over-lap between the 2 leagues’ territorial ranges. But just barely.

There are actually 3 Triple-A leagues within Minor League Baseball (which is run by Major League Baseball)…
There are 3 Triple-A leagues: the International League, the Pacific Coast League, and the Mexican League. The International League and the Pacific Coast League are comprised of pro ball clubs at the Triple-A level which have an affiliation with one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams. But the Mexican League is comprised of pro ball clubs at the Triple-A level without any affiliations to MLB teams. {To see my map-and-post on the 2015 Mexican League, click on the following, Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2014 figures), with active-clubs titles list.}


The International League (IL)…
-International League/current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Baseball-reference.com/BR Bullpen blog/International League (baseball-reference.com/bullpen).
The International League was established in 1884, with the modern-day International League re-established in 1912. As it says at the Baseball-reference.com blog, …”The “international” in the name was due to the league having teams in Toronto and Montréal for decades.”…{see this}. Currently [2016], the IL has 14 teams in 3 divisions. The IL spans the Northeast (6 teams), the South Atlantic Seaboard (4 teams), the eastern part of the Upper Midwest (3 teams), and the south-central Ohio River Valley (1 team). In 2015, the IL continued to be the highest-drawing minor league, averaging 7,199 per game (down 70 per game, from the 7,269 per game the IL averaged in 2014).

The oldest team in the IL is the Rochester Red Wings…
The Red Wings, of Rochester, New York, have been an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins since 2003, and have existed as a pro ball club in Rochester – continuously – since 1899 {source: baseball-reference.com/[city, Rochester NY]}. Along with the Toledo Mud Hens and the Syracuse Chiefs, the Rochester Red Wings are [tied for being the] second biggest pro sports team in the USA which is community-owned (the biggest community-owned team in the USA is, of course, the Green Bay Packers of the NFL)/{sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams#Baseball ; Rochester Community Baseball}. The Rochester Red Wings are tied with the Columbus Clippers (established 1977) for the most Governor’s Cup International League titles – 10. Columbus, a Cleveland Indians affiliate since 2009, won the 2015 International League title (their 3rd IL title in 6 years). But the Governor’s Cup title was established in 1933 as the trophy for the IL’s then-newly-established playoffs {see this, Governor’s Cup}. So if you count all International League titles, starting in 1912 [when the Eastern League (I) changed its name to the International League], Rochester has won 14 IL titles (and 20 minor league baseball titles, overall). Rochester’s last IL title was in 1997.

The highest drawing team in the IL these days is the Charlotte Knights…
The Charlotte Knights have basically tripled their fan-base ever since leaving their inadequate ballpark that was situated way out of town. That ballpark was about 19 miles south of the Charlotte, North Carolina city center – and was actually out-of-state, in Fort Mill, South Carolina. In 2013, the Knights drew a league-worst 3.0 K per game at that in-the-middle-of-nowhere ballpark. Now (since 2014), the Knights play in a sweet new 10.2 K-capacity ballpark in downtown Charlotte, which is called BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte) {see illustration below}, and the Charlotte Knights pack ‘em in to the tune of 9.4 K per game. That has made the Charlotte Knights (an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) the highest-drawing minor league team in all of the USA, Canada, and Mexico {see MiLB 2015 attendance figures at the links section at the top of this post}. The other high-drawing teams in the International League are the Indianapolis Indians (a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate) and the aforementioned Columbus Clippers, both of whom draw above 9 K; while the Lehigh Valley IronPigs [of Allentown, PA] (a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate), and the Buffalo Bisons (a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) both draw above 8 K.

Below: BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte). Home of the Charlotte Knights (the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox).
Best-drawing team in the IL & Best attendance in all of minor league baseball in 2015 (best of all 176 MiLB teams which record attendance)…
bb-and-t-ballpark_charlotte-knights_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Logos from sportslogos.net/[Charlotte Knights]. Exterior roof-top view of stadium, photo by Barton Mallow [architect] at bartonmalow.com/projects/Charlotte-Knights. Interior shot of ballpark with downtown Charlotte skyline in the background, photo by Charlotte Knights at milb.com/[Charlotte Knights/tickets].

The Pacific Coast League (PCL)…
-Pacific Coast League/current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Baseball-reference.com/BR Bullpen blog/Pacific Coast League (baseball-reference.com/bullpen).
The Pacific Coast League was established in 1903. The PCL currently [2016] has 16 teams in 4 divisions within 2 conferences. The PCL spans not only the Pacific Coast but the entire Western United States (that whole area of the continental USA which is west of the Mississippi River) – plus 3 teams east of the Mississippi: one in New Orleans and two in Tennessee. The reason for the vast geographical spread of the Pacific Coast League is that, in 1997, the PCL absorbed 5 teams from the defunct American Association, which was Midwestern-US-based, and was the third Triple-A affiliated league back then. (Here are the 5 former-American-Association-teams that were absorbed into the PCL in 1997: Iowa Cubs, Nashville Sounds, New Orleans Zephyrs, Oklahoma City RedHawks [now nicknamed the Dodgers], Omaha Royals [now nicknamed the Storm Chasers].) In 2015, the PCL continued to be the second-highest-drawing minor league, averaging 6,508 per game (up 223 per game, from the 6,285 per game the PCL averaged in 2014). The PCL title-winner last year [2015] was the Fresno Grizzlies, who are a Houston Astros affiliate.

The team with the most PCL titles no longer exists – that was the San Francisco Seals, who won 13 PCL titles before the team moved on (to Phoenix, AZ) after the 1957 season, to make way for big league baseball in the Bay Area, when the New York baseball Giants moved from New York City to become the San Francisco Giants in 1958.
Here is a small map that I put together in 2009 which shows the old, Golden-Age/early 1950s Pacfic Coast League…
pacific-coast-league_in-the-1950s_d.gif
Original source of image above – [PCL, 2009 map (incl. Golden Age of PCL/1950s map).] (billsportsmaps.com/MiLB Triple A)

The oldest city-location in the PCL is in Sacramento, California…
Sacramento’s first PCL team was in 1903, with several franchise-shifts since then; the current ball club there moved from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Sacramento in 2000, becoming the River Cats. The Sacramento River Cats, an affiliate of the nearby San Francisco Giants, are perennially the highest-drawing PCL team, and were again in 2015, drawing 9.3 K per game. The other high-drawing teams in the PCL are the Round Rock Express [of Greater Austin, TX] (a Texas Rangers affiliate), the El Paso Chihuahuas [est. 2014] (a San Diego Padres affiliate), and the Albuquerque Isotopes (a Colorado Rockies affiliate). [Side-note: the Albuqueque Isotopes are (brilliantly) named after the fictional ball club which moved from Springfield to Albuquerque, in a famous 2001 episode of The Simpsons/ see this article from Telegraph.co.uk, from May 2015 by Rebecca Hawkes: The Simpsons: 27 times real life echoed the show/ and see #19 there: 'When the Albuquerque Isotopes became a real baseball team'.] Those 3 teams – Round Rock Express, El Paso Chihuahuas, and Albuquerque Isotopes – all drew above 8 K last season [2015]. A team that drew very close to 8 K last year was the Nashville Sounds, who drew 7.9 K (and increased their crowd-size by over 3 thousand per game), thanks to their brand-new 10-K-capacity ballpark in the downtown of the Music City, First Tennessee Park.

Below: Raley Field. Home of the Sacramento River Cats (the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants).
Best-drawing team in the PCL & Third-best attendance in all of minor league baseball in 2015 (3rd-best of all 176 MiLB teams which record attendance)…
raley-field_sacramento-river-cats_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Logos from: sportslogos.net/[Sacramento River Cats]. Aerial view of stadium, photo unattributed at city-data.com. Interior/night-time view of a full house at Raley Field, photo by Chris at westsacliving.com/[blog article on visiting Raley Stadium]
___

Thanks to BallparkDigest.com, for attendance figures, 2015 Affiliated Attendance by League (ballparkdigest.com).
Thanks to the contributors at:
-Pacific Coast League (en.wikipedia.org);
-International League (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to AMK1211 for blank map of USA, ‘File:Blank US Map with borders.svg”>File:Blank US Map with borders.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to Rochester Red Wings, for photo of home cap crest, here (redwings.milbstore.com/store).

April 2, 2016

MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2015 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2014 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustrations for: the Los Angeles Dodgers (highest-drawing MLB team for 3rd straight year) & the Kansas City Royals (2015 World Series champions and best-increase-in-crowd-size for 2015).

mlb_2015-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-14_post_b_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2015 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2014 and percent-capacity figures



By Bill Turianski on 2 April 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Article on 2015 MLB attendance…from Sportsnet.ca, from 10 October 2015, MLB average attendance up slightly in 2015 (sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2015 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2015 (espn.go.com).

    Highest-drawing team in MLB (for the 3rd straight year) – the Los Angeles Dodgers (at 46,479 per game)…

Below: Dodger Stadium (aka Chavez Ravine). Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA. Opened April 10, 1962. Capacity 56,000. 2015 average paid-attendance: 46,479.
los-angeles-dodgers_dodger-stadium_chavez-ravine_best-drawing-team-in-mlb_2015_h_.gif
Photo credits above -
Aerial shot of Dodger Stadium with downtown LA in background, photo unattributed at orbicair.com/gi-56684-dodger-stadium. Tight-aerial-shot of Dodger Stadium, photo unattributed at latimesblogs.latimes.com. Exterior-shot/parking-lot-view of Dodger Stadium with fans streaming in, photo by Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers at dodgers.mlblogs.com/category/dodger-stadium [photo from 2010]. Exterior-shot of Dodger Stadium front entrance, photo [from Oct. 4 2014] by Sarah K. at yelp.com [Dodger Stadium]. Exterior-shot of giant Dodgers MVPs banner on side of main grandstand, photo by Ruel G. at yelp.com/biz_photos/dodger-stadium-los-angeles. Text-block of Dodgers MVPs, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Dodgers_award_winners_and_league_leaders. Interior shot at sunset of Dodger Stadium from seats behind home plate, photo by ÉmmÉrōSiá S. at yelp.com/biz_photos/dodger-stadium-los-angeles. View as night falls of Dodger Stadium from upper-deck with large crowd, photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports at bleacherreport.com. Exterior-ground-level shot of Dodger Stadium at twilight, photo by Daniel Sofer at hermosawavephotography.com.

    Best crowd-size increases in MLB in 2015…

All MLB teams which had an increase of +3,000 per game in 2015…
1). Kansas City Royals, +9,284 per game. The Royals increased from 25th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 24,154 per game) to 10th-best-crowds in 2015 at (33,438 per game). The Royals won the AL Central/ beat Houston in ALDS/ beat Toronto in the ALCS/ won the 2015 MLB World Series (4 games to 1 over NY Mets).
2). Toronto Blue Jays, +5,177 per game. The Blue Jays increased from 17th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 29,327 per game) to 8th-best-crowds in 2015 at (34,504 per game). The Blue Jays won the AL East/ beat Texas in ALDS/ lost to Kansas City in the ALCS.
3). Houston Astros, +4,960 per game. The Astros increased from 26th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 21,627 per game) to 22nd-best crowds in 2015 (at 26,587 per game). The Astros were the lower-seeded-Wild-Card in the AL/ beat NY Yankees in the ALWCG/ lost to Kansas City in ALDS.
4). New York Mets, +4,865 per game. The Mets increased from 21st-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 26,860 per game) to 12th-best-crowds in 2015 (at 31,725 per game). The Mets won the NL East/ beat LA Dodgers in NLDS/ beat Chicago Cubs in the NLCS/ lost to Kansas City in the 2015 MLB World Series (in 5 games).
5). Chicago Cubs, +3,798 per game. The Cubs increased from 11th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 32,742 per game) to 6th-best-crowds in 2015 (at 36,540 per game). The Cubs were the lower-seeded-Wild-Card in the NL/ beat Pittsburgh in the NLWCG/ beat St. Louis in the NLDS/ lost to NY Mets in the NLCS.
6). San Diego Padres, +3,264 per game. The Padres were the only MLB team in 2015 to have a +3,000-or-more increase in average attendance without making the playoffs, let alone playing above .500 (the Padres were 74-88). The Padres didn’t even have a better record than the previous year (they went 77-85 in 2014). They did have a bunch of young and exciting players and were involved in a lot of high-scoring and come-back games, and fan excitement there in San Diego translated into a healthy attendance increase. {See this article, and the comments there, at the Padres blog at SB Nation, Padres experiencing increased attendance and ratings, by jbox on Apr.27,2015 at gaslampball.com).}

    The 2015 Kansas City Royals:
    The Royals were 2015 MLB World Series champions (winning their second MLB World Series title);
    & the Royals also had the 2015 MLB best-increase-in-crowds (at +9,284 per game)…

kansas-city-royals_2015_world-series-champions_2015-best-increase-in-attendance_lorenzo-cain_mike-moustakas_eric-hosmer_wade-davis_ned-yost_r_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at chatsports.com. Lorenzo Cain after hitting a triple [May 2015], photo by John Sleezer/ The Kansas City Star at kansascity.com. Mike Moustakas throwing out runner to first, photo by the Kansas City Star via gettyimages.com. Eric Hosmer swinging, photo by John Sleezer/ The Kansas City Star at kansascity.com. Wade Davis congratulates C Salvador Perez after a win, photo by Jim Mone/ AP Photo via ksn.com. Royals manager Ned Yost talking with C Salvador Perez as 3B Mike Moustakas and SS Alcides Escobar listen on, photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com. Royals bench rushing to celebrate after Wade Davis gets final out of 2015 World Series, photo by David J. Phillip/ AP Photo via wina.com.


The map, and notes on the chart…
The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2015 home cap logo. That is, except with respect to Baltimore’s circular-cap-logo, which is of their all-black road cap, because the Orioles wear their white-paneled cap at home, and I wanted to maintain a uniformity to all 30 of the circular-cap-logos on the map. The circular-cap-logos were then sized to reflect crowd size, utilizing a constant gradient (the larger the team’s average paid-attendance, the larger their circular-cap-logo is on the map). If you are unsure about the term “paid-attendance”, my post on MLB paid-attendance from last year can clear that up for you {here, 2014 MLB paid-attendance map}.

On the chart on the map page, this year I decided to scrap the column for Percent-Change-from-previous-season [average attendance], and now I have a column for Numerical-Change-from-previous-season. (I just think it is easier to visualize a numerical-change figure, than it is to visualize a percentage-change figure.)

Notes on Capacity and Percent-Capacity numbers…
On the map page, under the attendance chart, are 3 notes; the following is a further elaboration on them…
1). Boston Red Sox, at Fenway Park. Since 1953, Fenway has had different capacities for day games and for night games: 37,227 seated capacity for day games/ 37,673 seated capacity for night games {see this, Fenway Park/Seating capacity (en.wikipedia.org)}. It was 426 less seats for day games from 1953 up to 2014, and now (currently [2015-16]) it is 446 less seats for day games. During day games, the furthest-to-leftfield centerfield seats – a triangle of seats in the centerfield stands (near the Green Monster) – is kept empty and covered with a triangular dark-greenish-grey tarp (see it at the lower-left of the photo below). This is to make a more uniform background for batters to more easily see pitched balls. Other MLB ballparks have benign backdrops for the batters’ sight-lines; and this is in that area of a batter’s sight-line that is often referred to as “The Batter’s Eye”. From time to time, because of night-game-rain-outs and then re-scheduled day-games with those tickets already having been sold, the Red Sox have been forced to keep that triangle of 400-odd outfield-seats open during a rescheduled day-game. In those cases, they solved the problem by handing out dark green t-shirts to all ticket-buyers who had bought tickets for seats in that triangle…so the batters still had a quasi-dark green background for their sight-line.

-Here is a thread (from 2012), on the subject of the dual/day/night-seating-capacities at Fenway, from Reddit.com/r/sports,
Why is the capacity larger at Fenway Park when it is a night game rather then a day game? (reddit.com/r/sports).

fenway-park_day-capacity_covered-seats-in-outfield-bleachers_h_.gif
Photo credit above – Cindy Loo/Boston Red Sox via boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/fenwaypark100/timeline.jsp?year=2011

2). Oakland Athletics, at O.co Coliseum, have tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). They do this, of course, because the A’s draw so poorly and their stadium is (and always has been) too ridiculously large for the ball club. The O.co Coliseum (originally known as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) is one of the last of the oft-derided and basically hideous structures known as the dual-purpose stadium, a thing that has come and now is thankfully all but gone from the American landscape. Almost every other dual-purpose stadium has been torn down (see next paragraph). Three multi-purpose stadiums in the USA remain: Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego; RFK Stadium in Washington, DC; and the Houston Astrodome. But besides the San Diego Chargers (NFL) and DC United (MLS), these 3 venues are devoid of big-league tenants and are underutilized (and the Astrodome is virtually condemned).

{Multi-purpose stadium/History in the United States (en.wikipedia.org).} Once there were over a dozen multi-use stadiums in MLB and in the NFL, and they all sucked, because they were designed to host two very incompatible configurations (baseball and gridiron football). They were giant soul-less concrete doughnuts that gave the fan – for either sport – vast yawning empty spaces where there should have been seats, and sight-lines looking upon totalitarian-architecture backdrops of brutal concrete. There were 9 now-demolished multi-purpose stadiums that were built in the USA in the same era or a few years later than the stadium in Oakland (which opened in 1966). Specifically, in San Francisco [which was re-purposed as a multi-use stadium for the 49ers in 1970] (Candlestick Park demolished in 2015). In Minneapolis (the Metrodome demolished in 2014). In Queens, NYC, New York (Shea Stadium demolished in 2007). In St. Louis (Busch Memorial Stadium demolished in 2005). In Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium demolished in 2004). In Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium demolished in 2002). In Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Stadium demolished in 2001). In Seattle (the Kingdome demolished in 2000). And in Atlanta (Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium demolished in 1997). There is only one multi-purpose stadium still in use in both the NFL and in Major League Baseball, and that is Oakland’s stadium, and its days are numbered. And when it is gone, good riddance.

3). Tampa Bay Rays, at Tropicana Field, also have tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). The Tampa Bay Rays, as pretty much all baseball fans know, are hands-down, the absolute worst-drawing ball club in the Majors. This, despite, these days, being a very competitive team (most seasons). And the Rays’ dreary and surreal and pathetic stadium is a big reason why. The other major reason why the Rays draw so horribly is because the team is based in Florida. Floridians do not really like to go to baseball games – because there’s not enough tackling and fist-fights in baseball, and because baseball’s pace is too slow and nuanced for Florida Man.

Tropicana Field is like a Bizzarro-world Major League ballpark. The place just exudes a pervasively gloomy atmosphere. And need I say more than catwalks in play all around the roof of the dome? For that matter, how on Earth can it be, that in 2016, Major League Baseball still has a team which plays in a fixed-roof dome? On friggin’ artificial turf (as does Toronto). Look how long the list is, of criticisms about Tropicana Field, at the Trop’s page at Wikipedia, {here, Tropicana Field/Criticisms}. In 2013, USA Today, in a 30-part series, ranked Tropicana Field as the worst MLB venue {see this, Tropicana Field: All dome and gloom, by Joe Mock of BaseballParks.com}. At the StadiumJourney.com site, their review of Tropicana Field notes that…’Tropicana Field is one of those places where you get excited to see the game until you walk into the stadium for the actual game. The concourse areas in the stands have plenty to do and look at. Entering the stadium you will find a wide-open atrium with very colorful displays, but this disappears when you enter the seating bowl. Once inside however, you will encounter one of the dullest professional sports atmospheres anywhere. It feels like going into an early 1980′s time warp. The ugly field and tarp covering the top rows of the upper deck are depressing.’ { – excerpt from Tropicana Field, by Scott Bultman at stadiumjourney.com.}

Hey Major League Baseball – move the Tampa Bay Rays franchise to Montreal, Canada. {See this, from the New York Times on August 18, 2015, Baseball Fever Grows in Montreal With Hope of a New Team, by David Waldstein at nytimes.com/sports.} There’s your Tropicana Field problem solved right there. Then the new-and-improved Major League Baseball would be a product with 50%-less-Florida…and the new-and-improved MLB would be a product with 50%-more Canuck. Like in “the good old days“.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.
Thanks to yelp.com, and photo-contributors there at yelp.com/biz/dodger-stadium-los-angeles.
Thanks to the Kansas City Star for some nice photos of KC Royals stand-outs.

May 22, 2015

Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2014 figures), with active-clubs titles list.

Filed under: Baseball,Mexico: Béisbol — admin @ 8:17 pm

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mexico_baseball_mexican-league_attendance-map-2014_post_b_.gif
Baseball in Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League), 2014 attendance-map, with active-clubs titles list


Links…
-Teams…Mexican League/Current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendance…Mexican League: Attendance [set at 2014/sortable for current attendances & archived back to -2005] (milb.com/milb/stats).
-Scores, Standings, Schedule…milb.com/LMB [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League)] (official site).
-My first map & post on Mexican League baseball (from 2011), which includes more info on teams and uniforms, Baseball in Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League), 2011.

    Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2014 figures), with active-clubs titles list…

By Bill Turianski on 22 May 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.
The Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League) is one of 3 Triple-A minor leagues in Organized Baseball. Unlike the other two Triple-A leagues – the Pacific Coast League (based in the West and Midwest of the USA) and the International League (based in the East and Midwest of the USA), the Mexican League’s teams are not affiliated with any of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs. (In fact, the Mexican League has three minor leagues of its own, the Liga Norte de Mexico, the Liga de Béisbol del Noroeste de Mexico, and the Liga de Mexicana de Béisbol Academia [a winter league]).

The Mexican League season is scheduled for 104 games, and runs from the middle of March, to mid-July, with the playoffs in late July/early August, then, in mid-August, the Serie Final (Final Series).

The Mexican League was founded in 1925, with 6 teams.
The only original team that has survived to this day are Águilas Rojos de Veracruz [the Veracruz Red Eagles], although there was a Mexico City team back then, and there is now a different, present-day Mexico City team – Diablos Rojos del México [the Mexico (City) Red Devils, who were formed in 1940 and have won the most Mexican League titles, with 16 Mexican League titles. The Diablos' last title was won last year [in 2014]).

There are sixteen teams in the Mexican League, which is an increase from the 14 teams the league had in the 1987 to 2011 era.
The three newest teams are the purple-clad Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen [the Carmen (City) Dolphins], established 2012; the navy-blue-and-gold Rieleros de Aguascalientes [the Aguascalientes Railwaymen], also established in 2012; and the black-and-red Toros de Tijuana (II) [the Tijuana Bulls or Tijuana Toros], est. 2014. (The Petroleros de Minatitlán [Minatitlán Oilers] franchise moved to Tijuana after the 2013 season, to become the Toros de Tijuana (II). The Petroleros were one of the lowest-drawing teams in the league.) The Toros of Tijuana drew a very impressive 7.9 K in their first season in the LMB in 2014. This is 3 years after the new first division Mexican soccer team the Xolos of Tijuana began drawing in the +20 K-range {see this article I wrote featuring the Xolos, from Jan. 2013}. So these two developments show the signs of good healthy cross-border fanbases beginning to form for both the brand-new pro baseball and futbol teams in Tijuana.

Crowd sizes in the Mexican League
The Mexican League, as a whole, averaged 4,720 per game in 2014 (which was a 4% increase from 2013). The Mexican League’s highest-drawing club, year-in/year-out is the Sultanes de Monterrey [the Monterrey Sultans], who usually draw above 10 K and averaged 11,856 per game in 2014. That was best in all of Organized Baseball, by the way. [Second-best drawing ball club in all of MiLB last year [2014] was the International League’s Charlotte Knights, who, thanks to their new, downtown-Charlotte-located ballpark, drew 9.6 K {source for data in this paragraph: 2014 Affiliated Attendance by Average (ballparkdigest.com)}].

If you are wondering why there are no Mexican League teams in the pretty populous areas in and around Guadalajara and along the west-central coast in Sinaloa and Sonora states, that is because there is a separate pro baseball league there. That is the 8-team Liga Mexicana del Pacífico [Mexican Pacific League] (LMP), which is a Winter pro baseball league. Commenter Juan found the attendance figures for 4 of the Winter ball leagues, {see 3rd comment in the Comments section further below}.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of Mexico, by Addicted04 at File:MEX orthographic.svg at Mexico (en.wikipedia.org).
-Map of Mexico…by Yavidaxiu at File:Mexico blank.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Some circular-cap-logos on the map included photos or banner illustration (which I then cropped and included into the design using my somputer-drawing-program)…
-Toros de Tijuana (Tijuana Toros), illustration of T-J logo, from banner at torosdetijuana.com.
-Saraperos de Saltillo (Saltillo Sarape Makers) teal home cap, photo of Gothic-S-with-sarape logo from neweraaustraliasale.com/saraperos.
-Vaqueros Laguna (Laguna Cowboys) grey-and-orange road cap, photo of silver-L-logo from listado.mercadolibre.com.mx/cachucha-vaqueros-laguna-beisbol.
-Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen (Ciudad del Carmen Dolphins) dark-purple home cap, photo of bright-green-C [part of the logo], from lids.com/mexican-league/delfines.
-Guerreros de Oaxaca (Oaxaca Warriors), photo of the O-a-x logo on home cap from newhatsite.net/oaxaca-guerreros.
-Piratas de Campeche (Campeche Pirates), photo of baseball-as-sneering-pirate logo, from mlm-s1-p.mlstatic.com [jpg] at mercadolibre.com.mx.

-Team info, etc…
Mexican League [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol] (en.wikipedia.org).

April 23, 2015

Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2015 location-map with 2014 attendances, and an analysis of KBO crowd sizes./ Plus an illustration for the reigning (4-straight) champions the Samsung Lions.

Filed under: Baseball,Korea: baseball — admin @ 9:42 pm

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Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2015 location-map with 2014 attendances



Links…
Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) (en.wikipedia.org).
-KBO teams…KBO League/ Teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-KBO official site/schedule, scores, standings; About KBO, etc. (in English, with Korean option)…http://eng.koreabaseball.com/.
-KBO 2015 season: standings, stats…2015 Korean Baseball Organization [sic] (baseball-reference.com/).
-KBO 리그의 공식 사이트http://www.koreabaseball.com/Default.aspx.
-My first post on KBO League (from Feb. 2010) has lots of info on the culture of Korean baseball,
Korea Baseball Organization: the 8 teams, with teams’ parent corporations listed, and baseball stadium photos (billsportsmaps.com/February 2010).

    Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2015 location-map with 2014 attendances

By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.
Demographics of South Korea
The population of South Korea is around 51.3 million {2014 estimate}. This puts South Korea as the 26th-most-populous nation on Earth. South Korea is very small, though: it is the 109th-largest country (at 100,210 km-sq or 66,690 mi-sq). That makes South Korea slightly smaller than Iceland, and slightly larger than Hungary. Largest city (by far) is, of course, Seoul…which is absolutely gigantic, and has a metro-area population that is second-largest on the planet. Seoul has a special-city population of around 10.1 million, and metro-area population of around 25.6 million ! {2014 figures). Only Tokyo, Japan (at ~36.9 million) has a larger metro-area. (I guess you learn something new everyday.) Basically, half of the population of South Korea resides in Seoul’s metropolitan area. South Korea has about the 30th-highest adjusted-GDP in the world {see this, List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita).

KBO League established 1982; title is called Korean Series championship; there are 10 teams in the KBO League/ season is 126 g/Apr-Oct
(KBO, or Korea Baseball Organization, is the governing body of the sport in the country).

Pro major-league baseball in South Korea began in 1982, with the institution of the KBO League as a 6-team league; a minor league was established eight years later in 1990 – the KBO Futures League. In 1986, the KBO League expanded to include a seventh team. In the first decade of its existence, the KBO League as a whole was only drawing in the 5 to 7 K range. By 1991, the KBO League had 8 teams. In 1995, cumulative attendance for the season finally topped 10 K per game, boosted by the exciting 1995 KBO season which saw three teams, the OB Bears, the LG Twins, and the Lotte Giants, go neck-to-neck for the pennant (the title in ’95 was won by the OB, now Doosan, Bears). However, this league attendance figure wasn’t surpassed for 14 years. After 1995, the KBO began to see dwindling fan interest that lasted for a decade. What first helped reverse the gradual slide in attendances from 1996 to 2004 was the good showing that the South Korean national baseball team had in the first World Baseball Classic, in 2005, when they finished in third. Another boost to the game there came three years later, when South Korea narrowly lost to Japan in extra innings in the second World Baseball Classic, and then six months later, the South Korean baseball team won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. These results convinced many South Korean sports fans that KBO baseball was a product worth supporting. In 2008, league-wide attendance shot up 2.3 K per game to 10.4 K; the next year [2009] it was 11.1 K, and the KBO League has drawn above 11 K ever since.

And there is no doubt that the caliber of Korean baseball players has improved in the last 25 years. There is a large number of South Koreans playing in Japan, in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. In the United States, in Major League Baseball, there are currently 5 Korean players, including LA Dodgers starting LHP pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, and Cincinnati Reds slugger and OF Shin-Soo Choo {see this, List of Major League Baseball players from South Korea}.

KBO League in the last two-and-a-half decades (1990s through 2010s)/ including present-day make-up of the KBO League [2015]
There were a few franchise shifts in the ensuing two decades (1990s to 2010). It wasn’t until 2013 that the KBO League finally got a ninth team (the NC Dinos). Now, for 2015, the KBO League continues to exhibit robust signs of health by finally getting to the nice round figure of 10 teams, with the addition of the KT Wiz. The KT Wiz look to have a serious uphill climb though, seeing as how they started their KBO existence going 3-and-17 (!) and sit last (as of 24 April 2015/ 2015 table here).

The KBO League is, in 2015, comprised of the following…
5 teams from Greater Seoul/Incheon/Suwon (metropolitan-area Greater Seoul)
3 teams from Seoul’s core-city-region: (Doosan Bears, LG Twins, Nexen Heroes); and
2 teams from Greater Seoul, with one team in South Korea’s third-largest city of Incheon (SK Wyverns), and
one team about 19 miles south of Seoul-city-center in Suwon (the brand-new KBO team the KT Wiz; KT Wiz).
5 KBO teams from the rest of South Korea
The other 5 teams in the KBO League are comprised as follows [clockwise on the map]…
one team from the fifth-largest city, Daejon (Hanwah Eagles);
one team from the the fourth-largest city, Daegu (Samsung Lions);
one team from the second-largest city Busan, (Lotte Giants);
one team from the 8th-largest city, Changwon (recent-expansion-team NC Dinos; NC Dinos); and
one team from the sixth-largest city, Gwanju (KIA Tigers, who are the most successful team in KBO, with 10 titles, last in 2009).

    Attendances of KBO clubs in general

KBO League attendance in 2014 was 11,302 per game.

(Note: if you want to see year-by-year/team-by-team KBO League attendance figures, the link to the KBO site’s page on attendance can be found if you scroll down to the foot of this post, where you will see an instruction guide to translate the headers to English).

League-wide cumulative attendance in the KBO’s first division these days varies from around 11 K to 13 K per game, depending on how certain teams fare in any given season. With only 9 [now 10] teams in the KBO League, a few teams’ crowd-size variations can really skew the league numbers.

Lotte Giants weird crowd-size fluctuations and the possible harm of expansion in the KBO
The club with the biggest crowd variation from year-to-year is Lotte Giants of second-city Busan (which is on the south coast of the country). Generally speaking, Lotte can draw 20 K if the team is doing well (as in 2012), but they usually only draw about 12 K if the team is doing poorly (like in 2007 and 2014). But it is starting to appear that recent (2013) expansion in the KBO will end up hurting Lotte Giants’ ability to draw large crowds. It looks like nearby new team the NC Dinos (who are from Changwon, which is located about 25 miles west of Lotte Giants) might be starting to erode Lotte Giants’ crowd sizes. I say this because we have seen it happen elsewhere in top-division baseball in the recent past – namely, in the 2005 to 2011 time period, when the MLB’s Montreal franchise moved to Washington, DC and started to erode the nearby (~35 miles up the road) MLB team the Baltimore Orioles’ crowd sizes. The Orioles drew 34 K in 2004, but once Washington got an MLB team again, 6 years later the Orioles were only drawing in the mid-to-low-20s K (like drawing only 23.5 K in 2009, then only drawing an alarming 21 K in 2010). So the Nats were knocking off at least 5-to-7 K worth of attendance from the O’s circa the 2006-11 time frame, and it looked to be a problem until both those teams got competitive [circa 2013-on], and crowds for both the Nats and the O’s began to be in the healthy low-30-K range [circa 2014-and-on]). And the same could happen in the south-east coast of South Korea, because Lotte only drew 12.0 K in 2013, when they had a decent .532 winning percentage. Lotte were playing well in 2013, and going by the Lotte’s fanbases’ past behavior (ie, not going to the ballpark when Lotte were having a losing season), the ball club definitely should have been drawing at least in the 17-K-range, if not higher (for example, in 2010, Lotte had a .531 winning pct., and drew 17.8 K). The new factor of nearby fan-dollar competition has now emerged (2013 was NC Dinos’ debut season). NC Dinos, who draw 7-to-8 K, got competitive fast (with a .551 winning pct in their 2nd year in 2014). So it will be interesting to see how this new dynamic in the KBO plays out, and if the Lotte Giants will be able to overcome this imposition on their catchment area.

Other teams such as SK Wyverns of Incheon (crowd-size-variation from 12 K to 16 K), and Nexen Heroes of Seoul (crowd-size-variation from 6 K to 9 K) also have significantly variable crowd sizes in any given year.

The perennial highest drawing clubs in the KBO League are Seoul’s big two: the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears
The highest draws in KBO League are Seoul’s LG Twins and Doosan Bears. LG and Doosan share the second-largest ball park in the country, Jamsil Baseball Stadium (capacity 30,200) (Lotte Giants’ Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium is slightly larger at 30,500-capacity). Both LG Twins and OB Bears were charter members of KBO in 1982 (OB Bears were founded in Daejeon in 1982; the franchise moved to Seoul in 1985 [with same name kept], before being officially renamed the Doosan Bears in 1999). The OB Bears played their first season in Seoul in 1985 at a since-demolished stadium, then in 1986 moved over to the Jamsil stadium and have shared the venue with the Twins ever since [the Nexen Heroes also use the Jamsil stadium for big games/ see Nexen section a few lines below]. Both LG Twins and Doosan Bears’ attendance has improved considerably in the last decade, and both have drawn between 15 and 20 K in the last five seasons (2010-14). However, neither ball club is particularly successful, though, because the last of the LG Twins’ 2 titles was won in 1994, while the last of the OB/Doosan Bears’ 3 titles was won in 2001. So the big 2 of Seoul have become complacent.
3rd-best draw in KBO are SK Wyverns
Besides the aforementioned take-em-or-leave-em nature of Lotte’s fickle fanbase, the only other team in South Korea that can draw in the thirteen-to-fifteen-K-range is the SK Wyverns, a relatively new club (est. 2000), from the far-western-part of Greater Seoul in the city of Incheon. SK, whose nickname of ‘wyvern’ refers to a type of dragon, basically drew terrible in their early days (ie, 2.6 K in their second season in 2001), but once they started racking up the first of their 3 titles (2007, 2008, 2010), the ball club stated drawing better, and now can easily draw in the 12 to 15 K range, and SK Wyverns drew 12.9 K last year [2014].
Worst-drawing KBO club is Nexen Heroes (from the western-side of Seoul)
The lowest-drawing club in the KBO League is Seoul’s ugly-stepchild-club, the title-less Nexen Heroes (est. 2008), who draw between 5 and 8 K. The Nexen Heroes did come close to glory last season, though, when they drew 6.9 K and made it to their first Korean Series, but fell to the Samsung Lions in 6 games {see this, 2014 Korean Series}.

    Hats off to reigning KBO camps the Samsung Lions

Samsung Lions are the second-most successful baseball club in South Korea, with 8 titles – four of which they have won consecutively (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). The dark-sky-blue-and-silver Samsung Lions draw between 6 and 9 K at their snug, 10 K-capacity Daegu Baseball Stadium, in Daegu. Daegu, which is located inland in the south-east of the Korean peninsula, is the fourth-largest city in South Korea, and has a metro-area population of around 2.4 million.

Samsung Lions drew 7.8 K last year, which made them the team that filled their ballpark the best in the KBO in 2014 (ie, the highest percent-capacity, at 78.9). The Samsung Lions have won all their four straight Korean Series championships under manager Ryu Joong-il. In 2014, the Lions boasted three sluggers who hit 30 HR or more (Hyoung-woo Choi, Yamaico Navarro, and Lee Seung-yeop); those 3 players are featured below…
samsung-lions_kbo_daegu-stadium_2014-champs_ryu-joong-il_hyoung-woo-choi_yamaico-navarro_lee-seung-yeop_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Logo/cap/batting helmet, illustration by 삼성 라이온즈 samsunglions.com/en/intro/intro_2_2.asp.
Ryu Joong-il, photo by Yonhop at english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports.
Hyoung-woo Choi, photo by Yonhop via koreatimes.co.kr/news/sports.
Yamaico Navarro, photo unattributed at licey.com.
Lee Seung-yeop, photo unattributed at koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article.
Action photo from April 2015 at Daegu Baseball Stadium with crowd behind home plate, photo by Solmin at idaegu.com/?c=6&uid=313363.
Samsung Lions cheerleaders and crowd at Daegu Baseball Stadium, photo by LHD at yeongnam.com/news.
Mascot-logo illustration by samsunglions.com.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of South Korea, by Ksiom at File:South Korea (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank map of South Korea, by NordNordWest at :FileSouth Korea location map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Attendance…koreabaseball.com/Record/Crowd/History (koreabaseball.com).
and…
-A very Big Thanks to Dan at MyKBO.net, for tweeting me the 2015 KBO League attendances AND translating the headers there :) Mykbo.net ; @Mykbo.net

How to read KBO League attendance figures (at the official KBO site) if you can’t read Korean…
1.) go here.
2). use the following list to translate the [non-acronym] headers…”From left – right: Samsung, KIA, Lotte, LG, Doosan, Hanhwa, SK, Nexen, NC, KT, Hyundai, Ssangbangwool’.
3). PS, Hyundai and Ssangbangwool are defunct KBO teams.

February 17, 2015

MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2014 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2013 and percent-capacity figures.

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MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2014



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

MLB attendance is defined as tickets sold.
If you buy a ticket for a Major League Baseball game, and then you don’t attend that game, your ticket that MLB sold you still counts in the officially announced attendance figure for that game. To put it another way, MLB attendance figures do not represent actual attendance, but rather, the total tickets sold for that game. The National League used to count turnstile clicks (aka ‘people in seats’), while the American League has always counted tickets sold. In 1992, the National League also began counting tickets sold instead of how many ticket-holders actually attended. Some sources say this was mainly because of revenue sharing (and the need to standardize the bookkeeping for all the MLB franchises), but revenue sharing only began ten years later, in 2002, which was a decade after the NL had started measuring attendance by tickets sold {see this, Attendance figures that count tickets sold, not turnstile clicks, make it hard for fans to reconcile what they hear with the empty seats they see (by Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times)}.

In any case, counting tickets sold rather than turnstile clicks conveniently allows all 30 Major League ball clubs to get away with consistently painting a rosier picture of their attendance than what the reality is. The sad truth of the matter is, late in the season, with respect to games where the home team is out of the Pennant race, many MLB games have actual crowds that are up to around 40% less than the announced crowd size. That is because many fans who had bought tickets for that game earlier in the year then decided that it wasn’t worth attending a meaningless game late in the season, because their basement-dwelling ball club had nothing to play for.

Here is an article on this subject from the New York Times baseball blog, by Ken Belson, from Sept. 22 2012, The Official Attendance Can Become Empty of Meaning (bats.blogs.nytimes.com).

If you think that this is all pretty disingenuous, I won’t argue with that. I will simply point out this…the way that they tabulate official attendance figures in two of the three other major leagues – the NBA and the NHL – is far more dishonest. That is because the NBA and the NHL count tickets distributed toward what their official attendance figures are announced as. [Meanwhile, the NFL leaves it up to the teams, and 30 NFL teams count tickets sold, while the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers count turnstile clicks/ {see this, specifically paragraph 6 (cbssports.com by John Breech)}; {also see this, which lists the 4 major leagues' attendance-count policies, The book on attendance (utsandiego.com by Mark Zeigler)}].

And when the NBA and the NHL are measuring attendance by tickets distributed, that includes the often sizable number of tickets given away for free {see this article, How Sports Attendance Figures Speak Lies (by Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball site, at forbes.com)}. And it is even more dishonest, because as they inflate the attendance by measuring it this way, they are inflating the “attendance” figure even more, because that tickets-distributed-attendance-figure includes all tickets distributed…even in those cases when the recipient of the free ticket didn’t even attend the game (seriously). Some NHL teams, particularly those outside of Western Canada and Toronto and Montreal, as well as those outside of the US Northeast and the US Upper Midwest, give away up to 3,000 free tickets a game! Which is how poor-drawing major-league hockey clubs in the Sunbelt, for example, can pretend they have far more ticket-buying fans than they really do. Thankfully, some franchises are seeing the corrosive effects of this (how would you feel if you shelled out big bucks for season tickets for a major-league hockey team, when sitting all around you are people seeing the game for free?)…{see this article from Oct.2014, where one of those under-supported-NHL-Sunbelt teams (the Florida Panthers) now has new ownership that is trying to stop the attendance-figure-dishonesty, by announcing actual turnstile clicks as the announced attendance, The Florida Panthers’ Empty Den (onlyagame.wbur.org)}.

So, at least, when you are given figures that measure not the actual attendance, but instead measure total tickets purchased (as in MLB)…well, you know one thing for sure, and that is that they (the MLB teams) are not lying about how many ticket they sold. They are only lying about the number of actual spectators at (some of) their games.

    Below, 2014 tickets-sold, the biggest change versus 2013 figures: change in tickets-sold of over 1,000 per game
    (11 MLB teams with plus-1,000-or-more tickets-sold / 9 MLB teams with minus-1,000-or-more tickets sold)…


Best increases in tickets sold in 2014 (versus 2013)…
Seattle Mariners: +3,738 per game.
Milwaukee Brewers: +3,287 per game.
Kansas City Royals: +2,540 per game.
Oakland Athletics: +2,399 per game.
Pittsburgh Pirates: +2,293 per game.
St. Louis Cardinals: +2,109 per game.
Miami Marlins: +1,802 per game.
Boston Red Sox: +1,516 per game.
New York Yankees: +1,507 per game.
Baltimore Orioles: +1,320 per game.
Houston Astros: +1,234 per game.

Worst decreases in tickets sold in 2014 (versus 2013)…
Philadelphia Phillies: -7,266 per game.
Texas Rangers: -5,145 per game.
Minnesota Twins: -2,803 per game.
Atlanta Braves: -2,400 per game.
Detroit Tigers: -2,502 per game.
Toronto Blue Jays: -1,988 per game.
Cleveland Indians: -1,673 per game.
Chicago White Sox: -1,452 per game.
Colorado Rockies: -1,401 per game.

On the map page…
At the far right of the map page is 2014 paid-attendance for all 30 MLB teams, along with 3 other statistics: percent-change from 2013, 2014 ballpark seating capacity, 2014 percent-capacity (which is paid-attendance divided by stadium seating capacity). At the lower right-hand corner of the map page, there are asterisk-type notes on 3 things: Boston’s different home capacities for day games and night games at Fenway Park in Boston, MA; notes on the Oakland A’s pretend-capacity (via huge tarps covering the upper decks at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA); and also notes on the Tampa Bay Rays’ pretend-capacity (also thanks to the egregious deployment of tarps, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL).

The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2014 home cap logo, except with respect to Baltimore’s circular-cap-logo, which is of their all-black road cap, because the Orioles wear their white-paneled cap at home, and I wanted to maintain a uniformity to all 30 of the circular-cap-logos on the map. The circular-cap-logos were then sized to reflect crowd size, utilizing a constant gradient (the larger the ball club’s 2014 home regular season average paid-attendance, the larger their circular-cap-logo is on the map). I used cap logos from either the ball clubs’ pages at Wikipedia or at the excellent Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, depending on which was more accurate in terms of actual cap-color as well as in terms of the logo itself (Yankees and Cubs cap logos are wrong at Wikipedia, and it looks like about 17 cap-logo background colors are wrong there as well).
___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

July 7, 2014

Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, the 84 highest drawing teams of all the minor league teams in USA, Mexico and Canada (all teams which drew over 4,000 per game) (affiliated, independent and summer-collegiate teams) (home/regular season average crowds) / Plus illustrations for the 2 highest-drawing MiLB teams of 2013: Sultanes de Monterrey & the Columbus Clippers.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB>attendance map 2011 & 2013 — admin @ 5:00 pm

baseball_minor-leagues_84-highest-drawing-teams_2013-avg-attendance_all-milb-affiliated-and-independent-teams_drawing-over-4000-per-game_post_t_.gif
Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, 84 highest drawing teams





Attendance figures on the map (source)
From Ballparkdigest.com, from Sept. 16 2013, ‘2013 Baseball Attendance by Average [Minor Leagues]‘ (ballparkdigest.com).

From en.wikipedia, ‘Minor League Baseball/ Current system
& ‘Independent baseball league/ Current leagues‘.

    Below is an overview of Affiliated MiLB, its levels, and its relationship to the Independent leagues (or lack thereof)

Affiliated Minor League Baseball is comprised of 18 of the 19 leagues in Organized Baseball
(MiLB is an informal quasi-acronym for minor league baseball.)
Affiliated means that the minor league ball club, though being a separate entity (a separate franchise), has a player-development working agreement (a PDC) with one of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs. An affiliated MiLB team, in other words, is under the protective umbrella of Major League Baseball. I say protective, because, crucially, the MLB team provides players and coaching staff to the MiLB team, and pays their salaries. Affiliated MiLB teams are within a ladder-arrangement on, officially, 4 levels which are below Major League Baseball. But, for all intents and purposes, there really are 6 minor league levels below the Major Leagues (see 2 paragraphs below). Organized Baseball is comprised of the 30 Major League Baseball teams and all their minor league affiliates which are in the 18 MiLB leagues, plus one other league, the Mexican League, which has 16 unaffiliated teams [official name of the Mexican League is Liga Mexicana de Béisbol]. (Note: each MLB team has 7 or 8 minor league affiliates; for example, here are the Boston Red Sox’ farm teams, ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Red_Sox#Minor_league_affiliations‘)

There are affiliated MiLB teams in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, but outside of the Vancouver Canadians (an A-level ball club), all the affiliated MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues are in the USA. (As the name implies, Rookie leagues players are straight out of high school, and by signing with an MLB team, have turned pro.) The MiLB teams themselves never move up or down the leagues-ladder via on-field accomplishments (as with teams in football [soccer] leagues or in rugby leagues in other parts of the world), but once in a while, MiLB franchises can move up or down a level or so (as with the case of the Durham Bulls franchise of Durham, North Carolina, which moved up 3 levels from Class-A to Triple-A in 1998). But the crucial factor (indeed, the whole raison d’être for Organized Baseball’s minor leagues) is, of course, that minor league players themselves can and do move up the ladder all the way to the big leagues, if they have what it takes to play in The Show (the Major Leagues).

The 4 different types of minor league ball clubs:
1). Affiliated teams in Organized Baseball.
2). Unaffiliated teams in Organized Baseball [Mexican Triple-A teams].
3). Independent leagues teams.
4). Summer collegiate baseball teams [amateur teams].
There are 4 types of minor league baseball teams. Two of these types are within the set-up of Organized Baseball. The affiliated teams come from 18 minor leagues spread out within the 4 levels, which are, going from highest-placed-level to the lowest-placed-level…Triple-A (aka AAA), Double-A (AA), Single-A (A-level/see following sentence for further description), and the Rookie leagues. But actually there are really 6 levels in affiliated MiLB, because the A-level is split into three levels of its own…Advanced-A, Class-A, and short season-A (and short season-A teams are from generally speaking, much smaller cities than adv-A or A-Class cities, and are stocked with many Rookie leagues-caliber players, and play in a season about only 50% as long as higher-placed MiLB leagues. The NY-Penn League and the Northwest League, which are the 2 short season-A leagues, don’t start their seasons until June.

The other two types of minor league ball clubs are the teams from the Independent leagues, and the teams from the summer-collegiate leagues. Both are not connected in any way with Major League Baseball (although Independent leagues teams can sell players to MLB teams). Independent leagues have sprung up in the last two decades, and there are currently [2014] 7 Independent leagues, two of which have teams which draw well enough to have made this map (see 5 paragraphs below). With Independent leagues teams, while there there is a greater chance of financial failure, there is also a wrinkle in MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball rules which has inadvertently allowed some Independent leagues teams to do very well at the turnstiles (also see 5 paragraphs below). The basic reason why it is much harder for Independent leagues teams to succeed financially is the simple fact that these teams from the ‘outlaw’ leagues must pay salaries to their coaching staff and their players (and some times build their own ballparks), while MiLB teams within Organized Baseball have the safety net of having their coaching staff and players’ salaries paid for by their parent-club (ie, the Major League team which they are affiliated with). Finally there are the summer-collegiate leagues (see 6 paragraphs below).

Attendance measurement within Organized Baseball’s minor leagues & within other MiLB leagues
Of the 19 minor leagues within Organized Baseball, 15 measure paid attendance – all 3 of the Triple-A leagues, all 3 Double-A leagues, all 7 A-level leagues, and 2 of the 6 Rookie leagues also do: the Pioneer League of the central Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachian League of the southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont region. The other 4 Rookie leagues do not measure attendance (those are the Arizona League, the Gulf Coast League [in Florida], the Dominican Summer League, and the Venezuelan League). The attendance measurement within the Independent leagues and within the collegiate summer leagues is way more hit-or-miss, and some of the Independent leagues don’t publish their attendances (because they are so low I am guessing). Also, some collegiate summer league teams inflate their attendance figures {see this from Ballparksdigest.com/3rd paragraph there} (so it is probably just as well that I decided to draw the line where I did with respect to crowd-sizes on the map).


I made a map of the 122-highest-drawing minor league baseball team 2 years ago {here, ‘Minor League Baseball – Top 122 drawing teams within Organized Baseball and in the Independent Leagues – all teams that drew over 3,000 per game in 2011‘ (billsportsmaps.com).

Map of 84 highest-drawing MiLB teams in 2013
This time, I decided to narrow the focus to about three-quarters of that, to all minor league baseball teams in North America which drew over 4,000 per game in 2013 (instead of all minor league teams which drew over 3,000 per game). So the map here shows the top 84-drawing minor league teams in North America from the 2013 season (from home/regular season games). On the map there ended up being 76 MiLB teams within Organized Baseball (68 of them being affiliated with one of the 30 MLB teams as farm clubs, and 8 being from the Mexican League [which, as mentioned before, is part of the Organized Baseball set-up but whose teams are franchises which have no affiliation with any MLB teams - and in fact have minor league farm clubs of their own]).

The 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map
The horizontal bar at the top of the map page lists every Organized Baseball/MiLB team in levels 2 through 6 (see immediately below for description of Organized Baseball/MiLB levels), with the 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map in bold type (with 2013 attendance rank), as well listing as all the other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues which drew too low to make the map.
At the far right of the map page, the attendance list includes a column for which level the MiLB teams are in, with:
level 1 being MLB (ie, there are no level 1/MLB teams on the map because this is a map of minor league teams),
level 2 being Triple-A,
level 3 being Double-A,
level 4 being advanced-A,
level 5 being Class-A,
level 6 being short-season-A
(note: no level 7 or Rookie leagues teams made the map).

The 8 Mexican League teams on the map
The 8 Mexican League teams on the map include the highest-drawing minor league ball club in all of North America last year – the Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León. The seven other Mexican League teams on the map are: Saraperos de Saltillo (the Saltillo Serape Makers), Acereros de Monclova (the Monclova Steelers), Diablos Rojos del México (the Mexico [City] Red Devils), Delfines del Ciudad Carmen (the Carmen City Dolphins), Pericos de Puebla (the Puebla Parrots), Vaqueros Laguna (the Laguna Cowboys), and Leones de Yucatán (the Yucatan Lions). The Mexican League has 16 teams; here is their page on en.wikipedia.org, ‘Mexican League‘.]

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map, and the ability of Independent leagues teams to circumvent the 75-mile-radius protected-market territory which MLB allows each MLB team to enforce within Organized Baseball [via MLB's anti-trust exemption]
As far as representation from the Independent Leagues – on the map there ended up being 7 teams which are from the Independent leagues. Although they can and do develop players who they then sell to Major League teams, the Independent leagues have no formal connection with Organized Baseball. Thus they are able to place franchises in areas that Organized Baseball has zones of exclusion, or protected territory. Such as in south-east-central Pennsylvania, where Organized Baseball protects the MLB team the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated MiLB teams the Reading Fightin’ Phils and the Harrisburg Senators from there being any other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams in that region, but where the Independent league team the Lancaster Barnstormers (and the York Revolution) ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. Also as with the case on Long Island, New York in Nassau and Suffolk counties, where MLB protects the New York Mets (as well as the New York Yankees) from there being any Organized Baseball/MiLB team in that region, but where the Independent leagues team the Long Island Ducks ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. And also as with the cases of the Kansas City T-Bones and the Sugar Land [Houston] Skeeters, among others.

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map –
[Note: here is my Independent leagues attendance map, which I posted earlier in 2014 (please note that some of the text there has been repeated here, below), http://billsportsmaps.com/?p=26979 .
-The Winnipeg Goldeyes [of the American Association] (from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the only Canadian team on the map besides the Vancouver Canadians).
-The Sugar Land Skeeters [of the Atlantic League] (from the west side of Greater Houston, Texas).
-The Kansas City T-Bones [of the American Association] (from the Kansas side of Greater Kansas City, Missouri).
-The Long Island Ducks [of the Atlantic League] (from Central Islip, Long Island, New York in Suffolk County about 25 miles east of the NYC border).
-The Somerset Patriots [of the Atlantic League] (from what can be referred to as the outer western edge of Greater New York City in Bridgewater, New Jersey).
-The St. Paul Saints [of the American Association] (from the eastern half of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota).
-The Lancaster Barnstormers [of the Atlantic League] (from Lancaster, south-east-central Pennsylvania).

The American Association [of Independent Professional Baseball]
The American Association has 16 teams and is based primarily in the Upper Midwest and the Plains States from Texas to the Dakotas, plus Manitoba and Quebec in Canada, plus a few teams in the Northeast. The American Association has been around since 2006 but features some teams that have been around for over two decades (such as the St. Paul Saints). The American Association was founded by Miles Wolff in 2006. Wolff had previously been founder of the first modern-day Independent league in 1993, with the now-defunct Northern League (of 1993-2010). Here are four excerpts from that former Independent league’s page at en.wikipedia.org…’The modern Northern League was founded by Miles Wolff. Wolff started the league after many midwestern cities contacted him (through his affiliation with Baseball America) asking how they could get a minor league team. After visiting some of them, most notably Wade Stadium in Duluth, he began contacting potential owners to start the league.’/…’The league began in 1993 with 6 teams: Duluth-Superior Dukes (Duluth, Minnesota), Rochester Aces (Rochester, Minnesota), St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, Minnesota), Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Sioux City Explorers (Sioux City, Iowa) and Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (Thunder Bay, Ontario). The prospects for the league were originally “cloudy.” Many forecast an early demise especially in St. Paul where competition with the Minnesota Twins led many local sportswriters to consider it a “beer league.” The league, however, was a relatively moderate success, with only the Rochester franchise struggling to draw crowds to their games.’/…’ Following the [2005] season’s conclusion St. Paul, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Lincoln announced they were leaving the league to form a new independent league with five teams from the folded Central Baseball League in the southern United States; the new league was to be known as the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.’/…’Following the 2010 season, the Northern League announced that Winnipeg, Kansas City, Fargo-Moorhead, and Gary SouthShore would be leaving the league to join the American Association’ …{end of excerpts}. The Northern League folded in 2010, but its legacy and 3 of its founding teams and 5 more of its expansion teams still exist today as 8 of the 16 franchises in the American Association (the 3 founding teams of the Northern League [1993-2010] which still exist today in the American Association are the St. Pauls Saints, the Sioux City Explorers, and the Sioux Falls Canaries). Miles Wolff, the founder of the influential publication Baseball America, and the modern-day creator of the Independent league-model, was commissioner of the trailblazing Northern League from 1993 to 2002. Wolff is presently commissioner of the American Association (which is headquartered in Durham, NC). Wolff also owns the American Association team the Québec Capitales (of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), as well as the collegiate summer league team the Elmira Pioneers. Here is the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball’s page at en.wikipedia.org, ‘American Association of Independent Professional Baseball‘.

There is one American Association team that owns its ballpark, the highest-drawing Independent leagues team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who play at Shaw Park. Shaw Park, which opened in 1999 and has been expanded twice since, has a capacity of 7,481. It is owned by Sam Katz, owner of the Goldeyes, and, since 2004, the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Katz, the first Jewish mayor of Manitoba, is in his third term.

Atlantic League [Professional Baseball],
The Atlantic League has 8 teams in their league. The Atlantic League has 7 teams in the Northeast and one team in Greater Houston, Texas. The league will soon expand to two locations in Virginia (probably in 2016/ see this post from the Indepenent Baseball.net site, http://www.independentbaseball.net/independent-baseball-teams/midoctober-recap-independent-pro-baseball-industry/), adding one new team in northern Virginia in Greater Washington DC [the Loudon Hounds of Ashburn, VA]; and one new team in SE coastal Virginia near Norfolk [the Virginia Beach Neptunes of Virginia Beach, VA]. It might interest you to know that Baseball Hall of Famer/Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson (in a consortium named Opening Day Partners) is a co-owner of the Lancaster team & the York team and the Texas team (and 2 other franchises in the Atlantic League). The NY Mets fan favorite, mercurial Shortstop Bud Harrelson, is a co-owner of the Long Island team. Harrelson co-owns the Long Island Ducks with Long Island-native Frank Boulton, who used to own the now-defunct Albany, NY Eastern League franchise, then tried to set up a Long Island-based team still within the Organized Baseball umbrella, but was blocked by MLB and the New York Mets from doing so, then set up the Independent league in 1998. 2 years later, Boulton and the Atlantic League put a franchise in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, with the Mets powerless to stop him. Boulton thumbed his nose at MLB and built the 6 K-capacity Bethpage Ballpark in 2000, where the Ducks pack ‘em in to this day, setting a consecutive-sellout-record for MiLB along the way. Here is what it says about all that at the Atlantic League‘s page at en.wikipedia.org, {excerpt}…’The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets’ objection to Frank Boulton’s proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.’…{end of excerpt}.

The Long Island Ducks are one of three Atlantic League teams which own and operate the ballparks they play in (the other two are the Sugar Land Skeeters, and the soon-to-be-expansion team the Loudon Hounds of northern Virginia).

The only amateur team on the map, the Madison Mallards
Finally, there is one amateur team on the map – the Madison Mallards. They are in the Northwoods League, which is one of many collegiate summer baseball leagues in the US. The collegiate ballplayers on these teams only receive a room and board stipend (as mentioned before, all the rest of the teams on the map are from leagues which are professional – and that includes the teams from the Independent leagues). In places such as Cope Cod in Massachusetts and in Alaska and in New England and in Upstate New York and in Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa/western Ontario, Canada and in the South Atlantic (as well as several other regions), there are leagues such as this. Actually there are quite a lot of these leagues {see this, ‘List of collegiate summer baseball leagues‘}. With one exception, the summer-collegiate leagues teams do not draw above 3,000 per game, but it must be pointed out that attendances in the collegiate summer leagues have been steadily improving in the last few years. In 2013, there were 7 collegiate summer league teams that drew over 2,000 per game, out of 144 teams from the 14 primary summer-collegiate leagues/{see this from Ballparkdigest.com, ‘2013 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by League‘}. The exception is the Madison Mallards, of Madison, Wisconsin (a city which lost its A-level affiliated minor league team after the 1994 season). The Mallards drew an astounding 6,100 per game in 2013. Think about it – 6K per game of ticket-paying public…and no players’ salaries to pay. Talk about a sweet deal for the Mallards’ owners. Why MLB has not put an MiLB team back in Madison, Wisconsin is an absolute mystery to me.

What the map shows
Below is a list of all minor leagues which measure attendance. The total number teams in the league drawing above 4K per game in 2013 (ie, teams on the map here) are listed in bold type.
Below: List of 2013 MiLB attendance by league (the list includes all 15 MiLB leagues within Organized Baseball which measure attendance plus the top 2-drawing Independent leagues)
List below is ranked in order of highest-to-lowest-drawing, with affiliated-MiLB levels noted, and with season length noted [knowing that total games in season divided by 2 equals the number of home games per team].
(Note: at the top horizontal bar above the map on the map page, these league-average-attendance figures are also shown, but here they are shown from highest to lowest league-average.)
(Please also note: level 1=Major League Baseball {not listed here}; Mexican League is at level 2, but with its teams being unaffiliated; while Independent leagues level is n/a but is probably equivalent to Double-A or level 3-caliber.)
#1, International League (Triple-A/ level/ 2 / 14 teams/ 144 game regular season), 7,041 per game. 13 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#2, Pacific Coast League (Triple-A/ level 2 / 16 teams/ 144 game regular season), 6,053 per game. 15 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#3, Texas League (Double-A/ level 3 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 5,377 per game. All 8 teams teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#4, Eastern League (Double-A / level 3 / 14 teams/ 142 game regular season), 4,616 per game. 8 of 12 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#5, Mexican League (Triple-A, but unaffiliated) / level 2 / 16 teams/ 114 game regular season), 4,519 per game. 8 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#6, Atlantic League Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 4,152 per game. 4 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#7, Midwest League (Class-A/ level 5 / 16 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,907 per game. 5 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#8, Carolina League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,657 per game. 3 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#9, Southern League (Double-A/ level 3 / 10 teams/ 140 game season), 3,515 per game. 3 of 10 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#10, American Association of Independent Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 13 teams / 100 game regular season), 3,435 per game. 3 of 13 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#11, Northwest League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 3,292 per game. 2 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#12, South Atlantic League (Class-A)/ level 5 / 14 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,262 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#13, New York-Penn League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 14 teams/ 74 game regular season), 3,173 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#14, Pioneer League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 2,282 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#15, California League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 10 teams/ 140 game regular season), 2,275 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#16, Florida State League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 12 teams/ 140 game regular season) 1,606 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#17, Appalachian League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 10 teams/ 68 game regular season), 894 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
-Data for above list at ballparkdigest.com/2013-affiliated-attendance-by-league;
and at ballparkdigest.com/2013-independent-attendance-by-league.

    Below are illustrated profiles of the top two drawing minor league baseball teams in 2013 – the unaffiliated MiLB team Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico (from the Triple-A Mexican League); and the Columbus Clippers, of Columbus, Ohio (the top affiliated ball club of the Cleveland Indians, from the Triple-A International League).

Below: Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey,the largest ballpark in Mexico, and, for the second straight season, the home of the highest-drawing minor league ball club in North America, Sultanes de Monterrey…
estadio-de-beisbol_monterrey-sultanes_best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey above -
Sultanes cap logo, photo from neweraaustraliasale.com/sultanes-de-monterrey-new-era-snapback-navyred.
Exterior photo, unattributed (uploaded by Jakovo Mtz)at pinterest.com
Aerial photo, unattributed (uploaded by PUMAS AJV) at skyscraperlife.com.
Interior/day-time photo, from sultanes.com.mx.
Interior/night-time photo, unattributed at el-fanatico.com.

Below: Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers…
2014/04/huntington-park_columbus-clippers_2nd-best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Huntington Park (Columbus, OH) above -
Exterior, northbankcondos.com/overview/photovideogallery
Left Field Building, scolinssportsvenuesvisited.blogspot.com/2013/05/122-huntington-park-columbus-oh
Right Field Stands, Tom Reed at cleveland.oh.us/wmv_news/tomreed44.htm.
Panorama, dispatch.com/clippers.
___
Photo credits on map page,
Lexington Legends cap logo, photo from lexington.milbstore.com.
Winston-Salem Dash cap logo, photo from wsdash.milbstore.com.
Pericos de Puebla cap logo, photo from h2b.mx/products/pericos-de-puebla-mexican-pro-59fifty-cap.
Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen cap logo, photo from http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-0/c0.90.540.360/10177312_275182789310312_2283421102371401731_n.jpg.
Long Island Ducks cap logo, photo from t20.glitnirticketing.com/ldticket/store.
Acereros del Norte cap logo from acereros.com.mx.
Winnipeg Goldeyes home cap, photo from Goldeyes’ site at http://www.goldeyes.com/shop/shop-index.
Rochester Red Wing new 2014 cap logo, illustration from milb.com/news/article ['Wings unveil brand new logos'].
Saraperos de Saltillo cap logo, photo from ecapcity.com/saraperos-de-saltillo-new-era-snapback-teal-black.
Toledo Mud Hens home cap logo, photo from strictlyfitteds.com/blog/2013/01/milb-new-eratoledo-mud-hens-fitted-baseball-cap.
Sultanes de Monterrey cap logo, photo from articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-447192360-gorra-new-era-5950-sultanes-de-monterrey.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Minor League Baseball‘.
Thanks very much to Ballparkdigest.com

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