billsportsmaps.com

June 9, 2018

Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada).

Filed under: Baseball — admin @ 1:19 pm

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Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada).


By Bill Turianski on 9 June 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Sources…[note: data was retrieved on 2 March 2018; some population data may have changed depending upon when the links below are later accessed]…
-List of metropolitan statistical area [in the USA];
-List of census metropolitan areas and agglomerations in Canada;
-San Juan, Puerto Rico (en.wikipedia.org).

The chart shows all cities in USA and Canada which have a metropolitan statistical area population of over 1 million. The MLB teams from each city are shown at the far right (via current [2018] home ball-cap logos).

I made this chart because I am trying to understand why MLB is so reticent to pull the plug on the dismally-drawing Tampa Bay Rays (and perhaps the similarly-dismally-drawing Oakland A’s).

And if you think I am exaggerating the problem, that would mean you have not been looking at attendance figures recently, because it really is that bad…currently [June 9 2018], the Rays are drawing 13.8 K and the A’s are drawing 15.4 K (plus the Marlins are drawing 10.5 K, but they’ll never move the Marlins out of Miami, which has to be the worst sports-supporting town in America). Here are the current MLB attendance figures {espn.com/mlb/attendance}.

I think, and a whole lot of other people also think, that MLB should be sending the Rays (and perhaps the A’s) to somewhere else…somewhere else where attendance would be much, much higher than the 14-or-15-K-per-game that the Rays (and the A’s) have been drawing. Like Montreal [the 16th-largest city in USA-and-Canada]. Or maybe Portland, Oregon [the 28th-largest city in the USA/Canada]. Or maybe Charlotte, North Carolina [the 25th-largest city in USA/Canada]. Or maybe San Antonio, Texas [the 27th-largest city in the USA/Canada].

-Montreal Expos ownership group positioned for MLB relocation (by Mat Germain on April 12 2018 at draysbay.com).
-How Portland lands a Major League Baseball team… (by John Canzano on June 5 2018 at oregonlive.com/sports).

Anywhere else? I doubt it. I don’t really think there are any other cities that could support an MLB team. Because that entails 81 home games a year. And that entails having the wherewithal to fund and build a modern venue. And that entails having the possibility of creating a fan-base capable of supporting the team. And that also entails a situation where the other major league teams there (or the big-time D-1 college teams, there) wouldn’t siphon off a big chunk of support from a theoretical MLB team there.

What I am saying is this…It is a lot harder to successfully maintain an MLB team, than it is to maintain an NFL or an NHL or an NBA team. And I don’t think Vancouver or San Juan or Sacramento or Las Vegas or Austin or Columbus or Indianapolis or Nashville or Virginia Beach/Norfolk or Providence are capable of supporting an MLB team.

But San Jose sure as heck could support an MLB team. However, moving the A’s slightly south to San Jose is impossible, in the current climate, thanks to the restraint of trade that the San Francisco Giants and the MLB front office is engaging in. Restraint of trade that is screwing the Athletics’ franchise {see this, U.S. Supreme Court rejects San Jose’s bid to lure Oakland A’s (sfgate.com from 2015)}. Lawyers representing the city of San Jose: “More baseball fans [would] watch the A’s in San Jose than in Oakland, and they [would] enjoy the games in more pleasant surroundings,” the city’s lawyers said. “To bar the A’s from moving is to reduce consumer welfare, for the sole benefit of a competing producer, the [San Francisco] Giants. This is precisely the harm that antitrust law is designed to prevent.” (See 2 paragraphs further below, in the B. section, for more on that).

The subtitle of this chart could very well be “one reason why the Cleveland Indians draw so poorly”. I say that, because look how small metro-area Cleveland, Ohio is now…it is only the 36th-largest city in the USA-and-Canada these days. Cleveland’s population hasn’t shrunk as much as that of the uber-Rust-Belt city, Detroit, but it is close. Once upon a time, in 2000, the Cleveland Indians actually had the highest attendance in MLB. But that was because, back then (18 years ago), the Indians were a very good ball club PLUS the fact that: the Indians had a shiny new stadium, the Cavaliers sucked back then, the Browns were bad and were just out of “hibernation” (from 1996-98), the local economy wasn’t so ravaged, and the metro-area of Cleveland was about 20% larger. The population decline in Cleveland is even worse if you look at from a long-term perspective…since 1950, the city of Cleveland has lost 58% of its population {see this, Philadelphia Is Bouncing Back From Problems Still Plaguing Cleveland (by Carl Bialik from July 2016 at fivethirtyeight.com)}.

As to the smallest city to currently host an MLB team, that is Milwaukee, Wisconsin [the 43rd-largest city in the USA-and-Canada]. Home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Well, hats off to Wisconsinites. I say that because the folks of Greater Milwaukee have been giving the decidedly small-market Brewers some pretty darn good attendance figures. {Which you can see, here, in my latest MLB paid-attendance map [2017 figures].} And think about it…the Brewers, from just the the 40th-biggest city in America, have to compete for fans with the nearby and vastly popular Chicago Cubs (as well as the White Sox), plus they also have to compete for fans with the somewhat nearby Minnesota Twins. But the Brew Crew still drew over 31 K per game last year, which was 10th-best in MLB. (By the way, the Brewers are doing very well at the moment, with the best record in the National League (at 38-25 [June 9 2018].)

Some things you should know about the population figures on the list
A). The definition of these metropolitan statistical areas are pretty broad. (If you are curious, click here; then click on links there, to see each city’s defined metropolitan statistical area [as defined by the US Census Bureau]).
B). And there are some overlaps…For example, Baltimore is part of Washington DC’s metropolitan statistical area, yet Baltimore, Maryland is also part of its own metropolitan statistical area. Which makes sense, when you think about it, because if you are in downtown DC, it is not that much of a schlep to get to the Orioles’ ballpark. Ditto the case with San Jose, California. Not that San Jose has an MLB team. (Though the Oakland A’s sure have tried to move there. But MLB has blocked that, and, supported by court rulings, MLB continues to unfairly allow the San Francisco Giants to own the territory of San Jose, thus effectively utilizing a government-sanctioned form of restraint-of-trade to undermine the Oakland A’s viability as a northern-California-based MLB franchise.) And speaking of San Jose, that city is actually larger (by population) than the city of San Francisco is, these days (true story).
C). I included San Juan, Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico is part of the USA (Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States); plus, the late and lamented Montreal Expos played a bunch of games there, back in the day, right before they moved to DC, to become the Washington Nationals (in 2005). Plus the Twins and Indians played two games there in 2018.
D). I kept the list going well after the smallest MLB city (again, Milwaukee), because I was curious. Plus, I couldn’t resist including my humble town…Rochester, NY…the largest city in the USA without any major league team nor even a D-1 college basketball team (sigh). In case you’re wondering, the second biggest city in that category is Grand Rapids, Michigan, but they got Western Michigan Broncos D-1 football/basketball/hockey just down the road in Kalamazoo. But I digress.
E). If I continued the list, below cities which have a metro-area-population of 1 million, the next cities on the list would be: Honolulu, HI; Tulsa, OK, Fresno, CA; Bridgeport/Stamford, CT; Worcester, MA; Omaha, NB; and Albuquerque, NM. That would take it to all cities in USA and Canada with a metropolitan statistical area population above 900 K.
F). I know this chart is about major league cities in baseball, but it is ultimately also about major league cities in general (and I will be posting a similar chart for the NFL on the 16th of June 2018). So, in that vein…Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is the second-smallest market in the USA-and-Canada to have a major-league team (in NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL), and has a metropolitan statistical area population of just 778,000.
G). Green Bay, Wisconsin, the smallest city…by far…to have a major league team in the USA-and-Canada, is only the 157th-largest city in the USA, with a metropolitan statistical area population of only 318,000. Go Packers.
___
Thanks to Wikipedia for data.

April 25, 2018

Japan: NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), 2018 – location map, with profile-boxes of the 12 teams, and NPB titles list (1950-2017).

Filed under: Baseball,Japan,Japan: Baseball — admin @ 12:07 pm

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Japan: NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), 2018 – location map, with profile-boxes of the 12 teams, and NPB titles list (1950-2017)


By Bill Turianski on 25 April 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Nippon Professional Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-reddit.com/r/NPB.
-Official website…npb.jp/eng/teams.
公式サイト…npb.jp.

The map-page…
The map-page features a location-map of the 12 NPB teams in Japan, with team profile-boxes overlaid. The main map is augmented by an inset-map of Greater Tokyo (at the lower-left of the map-page). At the upper-left of the map-page is a globe-map showing Japan’s location in East Asia. Below that, at the far left, is a small multi-color map of Japan, showing the country’s regions within the four primary islands (plus Okinawa) which comprise Japan, as well as NPB representation within those regions. At the upper-right of the map-page is a chart showing NPB titles by team (1950-2017), as well as Central League-/-Pacific League titles won by each team (see: Rules in NPB and league format section 4 paragraphs below for more on that). Below that is a small chart showing NPB representation in Japanese cities (the 8 cities in Japan with a population of more than 2 million in their metro-areas).

The team-profile-boxes feature basic info on the teams, including primary-cap-logo, location and venue, ownership, and titles, plus team mascots. Secondary logos are next to each team’s profile-box.

Demographics of Japan
The population of Japan is around 126.6 million {source: 2017 estimate, here at Japan en.wikipedia page}. This puts Japan as the 10th-most-populous nation on Earth. Japan is not very large in terms of land area, though: it is the 61st-largest country, at 377,972 km-squared (145,936 sq mi). That makes Japan slightly smaller than the US state of Montana, and slightly larger than the nation of Germany. The largest city in Japan (by far) is, of course, Tokyo…which is absolutely gigantic, and has a metro-area population that is the largest on the planet (at ~37.8 million). {Source.} Basically, 30% of the population of Japan resides in Tokyo’s metropolitan area. [Note: again, on the map-page, there is a list of the largest cities in Japan.] Japan has about the 28th-highest adjusted-GDP in the world {see this, List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita).

Nippon Professional Baseball was formed in 1950.
The set-up consisted of 12 teams, with 6 teams in the Central League, and 6 teams in the Pacific League. Like Major League Baseball back then, the teams in one league did not play teams in the other league during the regular season. This 12 team / 2 league format remains to this day. The Japanese mimicry of Major League Baseball’s format continued, when, in 1975, one league – the Pacific League – adopted the Designated Hitter rule (this was 2 years after MLB’s American League instituted the DH rule, while the National League did not). Nippon Professional Baseball continued to take its cues from Major League Baseball when inter-league play between the Central League and the Pacific League was introduced in 2005 (8 years after inter-league play was intstituted in Major League Baseball).

Rules in NPB and league format:
The rules in NPB are the same as in MLB, except with tie games going into extra innings…after 12 innings, the game is declared a tie (a draw) in the standings, except in the post-season, when tied games after 15th innings are abandoned, and then later re-played.

The 2 leagues both play 144-game regular seasons. Unlike in MLB, in Japan, the pennant-winner is crowned before the playoffs begin… the teams with the best regular season records in the two leagues are the Central League Pennant winner and the Pacific League Pennant winner. (In other words, unlike in MLB’s World Series, in Japan, the teams that meet to decide the NPB title in the Japan Series are not necessarily pennant winners.) The top 3 teams in each league make the playoffs. The pennant-winners (again, first place team from the regular season), gets a bye to the second round; while the 2nd-place and 3rd-place finishers play in the First Stage (a 3-game-series). Then the First Stage winners play the Pennant winners in the Second Stage (a 5-game-series). Those two playoff-winners then play for the title, in the Japan Series (a 7-game-series).

Distribution of NPB teams throughout Japan…
While it is true that Japanese baseball franchises do sometimes move, that is part of a broader trend of teams simply going to areas that had been historically ignored by Nippon Professional Baseball. Because as recently as 1988, 30 years ago, 9 of the 12 NPB teams used to be located in just two regions – the Greater Tokyo Bay area [the Kanto region], which previously had 6 teams (5 teams are located there now), and the central Japan/Osaka/Kobe area, which previously had 3 teams (2 teams are located there now). Since then, franchises have moved to Kysuhu Island (where the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks [est. 1989] are located), and Hokkaido Island (where the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters [est. 2004] are located. The Osaka region lost its 3rd team when the Orix BlueWave merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes. And then when the only-ever players’ strike in NPB (in the late summer of 2004) forced the league to reverse their decision to contract to 11 teams in 2005, the new franchise (the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles) was not re-placed in the Osaka region, but instead put in the Sendai region north of Tokyo. There is one area that has never had an NPB team, and that would probably support one pretty well – the NW Honshu Island (main island) city of Niigata, which is on the west coast on the Sea of Japan. Niigata (population of around .8 million) is home to one of the highest-drawing J-League soccer teams in Japan – Albirex Niigata, who became the first-ever J-League team to average over 40,000 per game, in 2005.

Foreign player restrictions:
4 foreign players on the 25-man active roster allowed, with no organizational limit.

Minor leagues in Japan:
Each NPB team has 1 minor league team in its organization, and most of the minor league teams use the name and uniforms of their parent-club, and the minor league team also plays in the same area as their parent-club (exception – in location: Hokkaido’s minor league team is still located in the Tokyo Bay area).

Japanese-born players in Major League Baseball
Up to the 2018 season, a total of 55 Japanese-born players have played at least 1 game in Major League Baseball. {Source: List of Major League Baseball players from Japan.} The biggest restriction is the 9-year rule, disallowing any NPB player without 9 years’ tenure with a NPB team’s organization, and along with that, another impediment is the ‘Posting’ system {see this: en.wikipedia.org/[Posting system]}.

Current [2018] Japanese-born players in MLB…

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Photo credits above – 1996 BBM Ichiro card, from ebay.com. 2001 [Mariners/Keebler stadium-giveaway-item] Ichiro card, from ebay.com. 2001 Topps Ichiro card, from topps.com.

Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners OF (age 44). Once he finally retires, Ichiro will become the first Japanese-born player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he will probably be elected on the first ballot. After all, he is one of the 31 players in all of Major League Baseball history that is in The 3,000 hits club [and there has never been any allegations of doping/steroid abuse wrt Ichiro]. Ichiro, who prefers to be referred to by his first name, played in NPB for 9 seasons with the Orix Blue Wave (1992-2000), where he was a 7-time All-Star (1994–2000), a 3-time Pacific League MVP (1994–1996), and was part of the 1996 Orix Blue Wave team that were NPB champions (see 1996 trading card above). Ichiro was signed by the Seattle Mariners in Nov. 2000, becoming the first Japanese-born position player to sign for an MLB team. In the following year of 2001, amid heavy coverage by both Japanese and North American media, Ichiro was the first player to lead in Batting Average and Stolen Bases (.350/56), since Jackie Robinson did it in 1949. And he became only the second player to win the AL Rookie of the Year award and the AL MVP award (the first was Boston’s Fred Lynn in 1975). Ichiro played 11-and-a-half seasons for Seattle (2001-12), then played 2-and-a-half seasons for the New York Yankees (2012-14), then played 3 seasons for the Miami Marlins (2015-17). He returned to the Seattle Mariners in 2018, as a 44-year-old. Excerpts from the Ichiro Suzuki page at en.wikipedia.org…”Ichiro has established a number of batting records, including MLB’s single-season record for hits with 262. He achieved 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak by any player in history. Between his major league career in both Japan and the United States, Ichiro has the most hits by any player in top-tier professional leagues…In his combined playing time in NPB and MLB, Ichiro has received 17 consecutive selections both as an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, won nine league batting titles and been named MVP four times…He is also noted for his longevity, continuing to produce at a high level while approaching 43 years of age…In total he has over [4,450] hits in his career.”…{Excerpts from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichiro_Suzuki.}

Junichi Tazawa, Miami Marlins Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 31). Tazawa never played in NPB. He was un-drafted out of high school, and so he played for the company team of Nippon Oil in the corporate league [unaffiliated with NPB], and was MVP in that company-league’s post-season in 2008. It was then, circa late-2008/early-2009 that Tazawa became the first amateur Japanese ballplayer to shun the NPB, and sign with an MLB team (the Boston Red Sox) {see this article from 2008 from ESPN.com, Amateur Tazawa bypassing Japan leagues for MLB}. Tazawa worked middle relief for the Red Sox for 7 seasons (2009; 2011-16), and was part of the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series championship team, making 13 appearances in the 2013 post-season including 5 appearances in the World Series that year, with these post-season stats: 13 app/1-0/1.38 ERA/7.1 IP. Tazawa has been a middle reliever for the Marlins since 2017.

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 31). Played in NPB for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (2005–2011); posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and signed with the Texas Rangers in Jan. 2012. Yu Darvish is the son of an Iranian-born father and a Japanese mother. In NPB, Darvish was a two-time Pacific League MVP (2009, 2011), a 5-time NPB All-Star (2007–2011), and led the Pacific League in Strikeouts 3 times and in ERA twice. Darvish was a member of the 2006 NPB champions the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. In MLB, playing for the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now the Chicago Cubs, Darvish has an overall 18.3 WAR, going 56-44 (3.50 ERA) [as of 24 April 2018]. Darvish’s best season in MLB was in 2013, when he went 13-9 (2.84 ERA) and led the majors in Strikeouts (277, with 80 Walks). Darvish has been a 4-time All-Star (2012–2014, 2017). But Darvish had a bad World Series with the LA Dodgers in 2017, getting bombed in both appearances, going 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA (when the Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in 7 games). Darvish’s problems continued on into 2018, where he is [as of 24 April 2018] 0-2 (6.86 ERA) for the Cubs.

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 29). Played in NPB for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2007–2013); posted by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and signed with the New York Yankees in Jan. 2014. Was 6-time NPB All-Star (2007–2009, 2011–2013), and led NPB in ERA twice (2011, 2013); plus Tanaka was a member of the 2013 NPB champions (the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles). Tanaka has been a vital part of the Yankees’ rotation since 2014, with an overall 12.6 WAR, going 55-30 (3.63 ERA) [as of 24 April 2018]. In 2014, Tanaka went 13-5 (2.77 ERA) for the Yankees and was a 2014 All-Star, but injuries kept him from playing most of the second-half of 2014. In 2016, Tanaka went 14-4 (3.04 ERA), with the best WAR for the Yankees that year, at 5.2.

Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers. Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 30). Played in NPB for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (2008–2015); posted by Hiroshima Toyo Carp and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Jan. 2016. Was a 5-time NPB All-Star (2010, 2012–2015). For the Dodgers, Maeda has been a solid starter, going 16-11 (3.48 ERA) in 2016, and 13-6 (4.22 ERA) in 2017.

Yoshahisa Hirano, Arizona Diamondbacks. Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 34). Played in NPB for 11 seasons with the Orix Buffaloes (2006-07; 2009-17). Hirano had more than the requisite 9 years tenure in NPB, so he didn’t have to be posted. Hirano signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2017. Was the NPB Middle Reliever of the Year in 2011, and Saves leader in the 2014 Pacific League. So far, Hirano has fit in very well in MLB with Arizona, and [as of 24 April 2018] he has made 11 appearances in middle relief, with a 1-0 record and a 1.74 ERA for the division-leading D-backs.

Kazihisa Makita, San Diego Padres. Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 33). Played in NPB for the Seibu Lions (2011-17); posted by Seibu Lions and signed by the San Diego Padres in Dec. 2017. Makita has a sidewinder (or submarine) delivery. Was Pacific League Rookie of the Year in 2011, and an NPB All-Star in 2011 and 2013. For the Padres, [as of 24 April 2018] he has 11 appearances in middle relief, with a 4.50 ERA.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels. Starting Pitcher (RHP) and DH/OF (Bats Left) (age 23). Played in NPB for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (2013–17). Was posted by Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in Dec. 2017. Ohtani is a dual-threat player who can pitch with speed and finesse AND who can hit for power and for average. Ohtani proved it in Japan, and right now, so far, he is proving he can do it in Major League Baseball. Ohtani was part of the 2016 NPB champions (the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters). As a starting pitcher in NPB, Ohtani had the Pacific League’s best ERA in 2015, and he was voted to the NPB Best Nine as a Pitcher in 2015 and 2016, as well as being voted to the NPB Best Nine as DH in 2016. Which is absolutely unprecedented. Ohtani recalls the pitching-and-slugging skills once displayed by no less than Babe Ruth himself, back in the 1910s and 1920s (Babe Ruth, for the Boston Red Sox in 1919, hit 20 HRs and pitched for a 9-5 record with an ERA of 2.97 in 133 IP). Ohtani’s current MLB numbers: [as of 24 April 2018] 3 HR, 1 Triple, 1 Double and 11 RBIs in 42 AB (a .333 BAvg and a .619 SPct) plus a 2-1 pitching record (4.46 ERA) in 4 GS and 20.1 IP. Ohtani appears to be the real deal, and along with Mike Trout, could very well lead the division-leading Angels to post-season glory soon. {From Deadspin, from the 25th of April, Shohei Ohtani Threw The Ball Hard As F*ck (by Tom Ley at deadspin.com).}
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Photo credits above – Ohtani as pitcher and as batter for Hokkaido, 2 photos by Kyodo News/Getty Images via si.com. Ohtani batting for LA Angels, and Ohtani pitching for LA Angels, 2 photos by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.

    2017 Japan Series: Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat Yokohoma DeNa BayStars, 4 games to 2. (Fourth NPB title in 7 seasons for Fukuoka.)

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Photo and Image credits above – Dennis Sarfate, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com. Keizo Kawashima, photo by Kyodo News via japantimes.co.jp. Nao Higashihama, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com. Yuki Yanagita, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com.
Alfredo Despaigne, photo by Gaffkey at File:Hawks54-Despaigne.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Fukuoka at twilight, photo by Alamy via theguardian.com/travel/flourishing-fukuoka…. Fukuoka Dome, photo unattributed at blog.gaijinpot.com/fukuokas-seaside-momochi. The Fukuoka Hawks’ balloon-release (a 7th inning tradition at Fukuoka Dome), photo by Brad Merrett at bradmerrett.com/blog/go-hawks. Mascots: photos from softbankhawks.co.jp.

___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Japan, by Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) at File:Japan location map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Globe-map of Japan, by Connormah at File:Japan (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Map of Japan’s regions, by Ken Nashi at start-point.net/maps.
-Map of Tokyo (Kantō MMA) metro-area, by Kzaral at File:Tokyo-Kanto definitions, Kanto MMA.png.
-worldatlas.com/articles/10-biggest-cities-in-japan.
-Seibu Lions mascot/photo from store.seibulions.jp.
-Chiba Lotte Marines new mascot (Mystery Fish), image from palusuke.com.
-Hiroshima Toyo Carp mascot (Slyly), illustration from seiga.nicovideo.jp.

-Thanks to MeGaNiNjA (スピードさん) @MegaNiNj4, for requesting this map (via twitter), and for helping me find mascot illustrations.
-Thanks to the guy who runs the twitter feed for the Reddit/NPB page, for finding mistakes, on my map here (twitter.com/NPB_Reddit).

April 14, 2018

Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2018 location-map with 2017 attendances and KBO titles list./+ Illustration: 2017 Korean Series champions, the KIA Tigers.

Filed under: Baseball,Korea: baseball — admin @ 4:36 pm

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Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2018 location-map with 2017 attendances and KBO titles list


By Bill Turianski on 14 April 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

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 리그의 공식 사이트http://www.koreabaseball.com/Default.aspx.

-KBO League bunt contest, http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/07/18/190349428/korean-baseball-organization-holds-bunt-derby-at-all-star-game.
-Bat flips ! (Bat flips rule. ) Best Bat Flips in KBO (3:16 video uploaded in Nov 2016 by Yoriel Lalane at youtube.com).

-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).

-From Deadspin.com…[warning: unfortunately, link is wonky] How To Get Into The KBO, The Wildest, Most Outlandish Baseball League In The World (by Sung Min Kim on March 28 2017 at deadspin.com).

KBO League map-page…
The map-page features a location-map of the 10 KBO League teams, including an inset-map of Greater Seoul. Circular-cap-logos are sized to reflect 2017 average attendance…the larger the circular-cap-logo, the higher the team’s attendance. There are 3 charts to the right of the map/inset-map…one chart for 2017 KBO League Attendance Data, one chart for KBO League Titles List (1982-2017), and one chart that shows all the cities in South Korea with a population above 1 million and the KBO-League-representation there. Plus there is a section that shows KBO League teams’ mascots (via 2016 stamps that were issued by Korea Post). Mascots are big time in Korean baseball (as well as in Japanese baseball). And speaking of Japan, my next post [on the 25th of April] will be of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (2018 NPB location-map with NPB teams’ profile boxes, including mascots, etc./+ Illustration for: 2017 NPB champions, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks).


(Old-content-disclaimer: the next couple of paragraphs are almost verbatim from my last post on the KBO League {from 2015}.)

Demographics of South Korea
The population of South Korea is around 51.4 million {source: 2017 estimate, here at South Korea en.wikipedia page}. This puts South Korea as the 27th-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. The largest city in South Korea (by far) is, of course, Seoul…which is absolutely gigantic, and has a metro-area population that is fifth-largest on the planet. Seoul has a special-city population of around 10.1 million, and metro-area population of around 25.6 million ! {2017 figures). Only Tokyo, Japan (at ~37.8 million), Shanghai, Jakarta, and Delhi have larger metro-area populations than does Seoul. {Source.} 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 est. 1982; 10 teams. Season: 144 games/5-team playoffs w/reg-season-winner getting bye to the 5-game Korean Series
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 about 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. The health of Korean pro baseball these days can be seen in the fact that there has been recent expansion. The KBO League finally got to 10 teams with creation of a 9th team (the NC Dinos) in 2013, and a 10th team (the KT Wiz) in 2015.

And there is no doubt that the caliber of Korean baseball players has improved in the last 25 years or so. There is a large number of South Koreans playing in Japan, in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). And in the United States (and Canada), in Major League Baseball, there are currently 5 Korean-born players, of which I have brief profiles below.

List of Major League Baseball players from South Korea (en.wikipedia.org).
[Note on Korean nomenclature: first syllables are last-names in Korean (ie, Shin-soo Choo is Mr. Shin).]
Shin-soo Choo: (age 35) Texas Rangers OF, who also played for Mariners, Indians, and Reds (in MLB since 2005). Shin was born and raised in Busan, in southern South Korea. Shin-soo never played in the KBO League, because he was such a good prospect that he was signed out of high school by the Seattle Mariners, and went up through the MiLB farm system. He has hit over 20 HR five times (including 22 HR for the Rangers in 2017), and, as of 14 Apr 2018, has hit 177 HR and has a lifetime .277 BAvg.
Hyun-jin Ry: (age 31) Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher (LHP), since 2013. Hyun played for Hanwha Eagles in the KBO League (2006-12). He had two 14-win seasons for the LA Dodgers (in 2013 and ’14). Injuries held him back in 2015 and ’16, but this season, as of 14 Apr 2018, he is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA.
Jung-ho Kang: (age 30) Pittsburgh Pirates 3B/SS. Jung played for the Hyundai Unicorns and the Nexen Heroes in the KBO League. He signed with Pittsburgh in 2015. (The Pirates have long had a vast overseas scouting network, and have a long history, goibng all the way back to the early 1960s, of unearthing and then utilizing talent from abroad.) As of 14 Apr 2018, Jung has amassed a 6.5 WAR, with a .273 BAvg.
Seung-hwan Oh: (age 35) Toronto Blue Jays Relief Pitcher (RHP) (in MLB since 2016). Seung played for the Samsung Lions in the KBO League (2005-13, with two KBO-title-wins in ’12 and ’13). Then he had a 2-year stint in Japan with the NPB team the Hanshin Tigers. Then after signing with St. Louis in 2015, Seung had 39 Saves in 2 seasons with the Cardinals, including a 2.26 ERA in 2016. He now works middle-relief for the Blue Jays.
Ji-man Choi: (age 26) Los Angeles Angels 1B/OF (in MLB since 2016), previously played for the NY Yankees and the Brewers. Ji-man Choi was born and raised in Incheon. Like Shin-soo Choo, Ji never played in the KBO League, because he was signed by an MLB club as a teenager. And also like Shin-soo Choo, Ji-man Choi signed with Seattle [in 2009]. (The Mariners have a pretty extensive scouting network in East Asia.)

Last season [2017], the KBO League averaged 11,668 per game (up 0.7% from 2016). Half the league (5 teams) averaged above 12-K-per-game last season.
Those five higher-drawing teams are listed below (all of whom were charter-members of the KBO League in 1982, except for the SK Wyverns)…
–The two big Seoul-base teams: the LG Twins (colors: Black-and-Magenta), and the Doosan Bears (Midnight-Blue-and-Red). The two have a stadium-share at the 25.5-K-capacity Jamsil Baseball Stadium. The LG Twins are classic under-achievers (with just 2 KBO titles, last in 1994), while the Doosan, and formerly OB, Bears are the third-most titled KBO club, with 5 titles (last in 2016).
-The southern-South-Korea-based Lotte Giants (of second-city Busan), who play in Korea’s largest ballpark, the 26.8-K-capacity Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium. The Lotte Giants are the oldest Korean ball club, formed as an amateur team in 1975. But, just like the LG Twins, they are a high-drawing club that can’t seem to win many titles…they also have only 2 KBO titles (last in 1992). The Lotte Giants used to wear black-and-orange like their namesakes from San Francisco, but switched this season to Navy-Blue-and-Red {see new logos on the map-page}.
-The reigning champs and all-time most-titled team, the Kia Tigers (of 6th-largest city Gwanju). The Bright-Red-and-Navy-clad Tigers have a relatively new ballpark, Gwangju-Kia Champions Field.
-And the SK Wyverns (est. 2000), of Incheon (which is on the north-west coast, about 18 miles west of Seoul, and is part of Greater Seoul, and is also the 3rd-largest city in the country). The Red-and-Orange-clad SK Wyverns have a pretty nice-looking ballpark, the 16-year-old/26-K-capacity Munhak Baseball Stadium. (Note: a wyvern is a half-dragon/-half-snake, as featured on Leyton Orient FC’s crest.) The SK Wyverns have won 3 KBO titles (last in 2010); 3 titles in 18 seasons is a decent trophy-haul.

The most successful ball club in Korea is the aforementioned Kia Tigers, who have won 10 of the 36 KBO titles, including the 2017 title (see illustration further below). Second-most successful club in the KBO is the Samsung Lions, another small-market team that over-achieves: the Lions, of fourth-city Daegu, have won 8 KBO titles (including 4 straight Korean Series titles from 2011-15). Like their Detroit-Michigan-based namesakes, the Samsung Lions wear Cornflower-Blue. Samsung Lions drew 9.7-K in 2017; they have a new ballpark, the 24-K-capacity Daegu Samsung Lions Park, which opened in 2016.

I will round out the rest of the KBO League teams not mentioned above [ie, the 4 lowest-drawing teams], via the bracketed parts within the full list of KBO League teams below…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KBO_League#Teams
The KBO League is, in 2018, comprised of the following…
5 teams from Greater Seoul/Incheon/Suwon (metropolitan-area Greater Seoul)
3 teams from Seoul’s core-city-region: the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins, and the Nexen Heroes.
[Nexen Heroes, est. 2008, wear Maroon; they have won no titles (see note on map-page titles list for franchise-change-history of Unicorns/Heroes).]
2 teams from Greater Seoul, with one team in South Korea’s third-largest city of Incheon, the SK Wyverns, and
1 team located about 19 miles south of Seoul-city-center in Suwon [the Black-clad KT Wiz, est. 2015].
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]…
1 team from the fifth-largest city, Daejon [the Black-and-Orange-clad Hanwah Eagles, est. 1985, who won the 1999 title];
1 team from the the fourth-largest city, Daegu, the Samsung Lions;
1 team from the second-largest city, Busan, the Lotte Giants;
1 team from the 8th-largest city, Changwon [the Dark-Blue/Light-Blue-and-Gold-clad NC Dinos, est. 2013]; and
1 team from the sixth-largest city, Gwanju, the KIA Tigers [see illustration below]).

Kia Tigers, 2017 Korean Series champions (their 11th KBO League title; most in league)
2017-korea-series_kbo-league_kia-tigers_2017-champions_gwangju-kia-champions-field_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Yang Hyeon-jong (LHP), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Roger Bernadina (OF), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Choi Hyoung-woo (OF), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Kia Tigers players celebrate, photo by Yonhap via koreatimes.co.kr. Kia Tigers cap, photo from vjkorea.com. Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, aerial photo unattributed at dutchbaseballhangout.wordpress.com. Screenshot of Kia Tigers cheerleaders & mascot on dugout roof, image from video uploaded by K.L. Jin at youtube.com. Kia Tigers fans with flags and banners, photo by Yonhap via shinailbo.co.kr. Kia Tigers players [and mascot] bow to their fans, photo by hgryu77@newsis.com at isplus.live.joins.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).
-Lotte Giants’ official shop, lottegiantsshop.com/[new 2018 cap], thanks for photo of the brand-new Lotte Giants’ deep-navy-blue-and-wine-red ball cap logo.
-KBO teams’ K-stamps (2016) [KBO-team-cap-with-mascot], by Shin Jaeyong/Korea Post stampworld.com/stamps/South-Korea/Postage-stamps/g3144/.
-Thanks to Dan @MyKBO, for the re-tweet.

March 31, 2018

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2017 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2016 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration: The Houston Astros – 2017 World Series champions.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball >paid-attendance — admin @ 7:01 pm

mlb_2017-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-2016_post_b_.gif
MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2017 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2016 and percent-capacity figures


By Bill Turianski on 31 March 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [also with team attendance figures for past 17 seasons] (espn.go.com).

-2018 Team-by-Team MLB Logo and Uniform Preview (by Chris Creamer at news.sportslogos.net).

-MLB attendance dropped off slightly in 2017, going below 73 million for the first time in 14 seasons. A lack of pennant-races in September 2017 was one of the reasons cited for the 0.67% drop-off in tickets sold…{Another fall puts MLB attendance below 73M (by Eric Fisher on Oct 9 2017 at sportsbusinessdaily.com).}

-In April 2017, at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, the Oakland Athletics reduced their tarp-covered upper-deck seats by 12,000; there are now about 8,000 seats at the stadium which are still covered by tarps, primarily in the egregious and looming “Mount Davis” stand behind centerfield (which was built to accommodate the NFL’s Raiders…who will soon be leaving Oakland [again])…{A’s take tarps off; upper-deck tickets $15 (by Susan Slusser on April 11 2017 at sfchronicle.com).}

-Thanks to their new suburban-Atlanta-based ballpark (the 41.5-K-capacity SunTrust Park, which is located 10 miles NW of central Atlanta), the Atlanta Braves increased their average paid-attendance in 2017 by an MLB-best 5,980 per game. (The Braves’ crowd-size improved from 24.9 K in 2016, to 30.9 K in 2017.)…{Braves attendance jumps 28% in 2017 (Video) (bizjournals.com/atlanta).}

-The Cleveland Indians had the second-best paid-attendance increase in 2017, up 5.3 K per game (to a league-22nd-best 25.2 K-per-game). Located in an economically wracked and shrinking city, and one year after winning the 2016 AL pennant and taking the Cubs to the 7th game of the World Series, the Cleveland Indians have finally seen an attendance increase…{Cleveland Indians reach 2 million in tickets sold for first time since 2008 (from Sep. 20 2017 at cleveland.com).}

The map…
The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2017 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 2015 can clear that up for you {here, 2014 MLB paid-attendance map}. The chart at the right-hand-side of the map page shows 5 things: Attendance-Rank, Average Paid-Attendance, Venue Capacity, Percent-Capacity, and Numerical Change in Average Paid-Attendance from Previous Season [2016].

(Note: in late-May 2018, I will post a chart showing MLB teams within the context of the largest metro-areas in the USA and Canada, entitled Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada). As a teaser of sorts, here are the primary lists I used for that, List of metropolitan statistical area [in the USA]; List of census metropolitan areas and agglomerations in Canada.

I will just leave you with this…the seven largest major cities (in USA and Canada) without MLB teams are:
Montreal, QC, Canada (16th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Charlotte, NC (24th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Vancouver, BC, Canada (25th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Orlando, FL (26th-largest city in USA/Canada);
San Antonio, TX (27th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Portland, OR (28th-largest city in USA/Canada);
San Juan, Puerto Rico, [unincorporated territory of the USA] (29th-largest city in USA/Canada).

…And there are 5 MLB teams that are located in cities smaller than those listed above…Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.)

    The Houston Astros: 2017 World Series champions – the Astros’ first MLB title (which took 56 years) (and which occurred just 5 weeks after Hurricane Harvey)…

-The Unprecedented Flooding in Houston, in Photos (by Alan Taylor on 28 Aug. 2017 at theatlantic.com).
-How the Houston Astros Finally Hit on a Formula That Worked for Them (by Tyler Kepner on 3 Nov. 2017 at nytimes.com/baseball).
houston-astros_2017-w-s-champions_harvey_a-j-hinch_jose-altuve_carlos-correa_george-springer_dallas-keuchel_justin-verlander_charlie-morton_brian-mccann_f.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Is Hurricane Harvey a harbinger for Houston’s future?“, photo by Richard Carson/Reuters via theconversation.com. Rte. #45 road-sign, illustration from redbubble.com. Houston skyline with Minute Maid Park in foreground, photo by Jackson Myers at flickr.com/j-a-x. Aerial shot of Minute Maid park at dusk, photo by Jim Olive via cdn.c.photoshelter.com; photoshelter.com. View from upper-deck stands, game 3 of 2017 WS at Minute Maid Park, photo by Tim Donnelly/AP via [Orange County Register] ocregister.com. Dallas Keuchel, photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via fanragsports.com. Justin Verlander, photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP via al.com. Houston manager AJ Hinch at the mound with Justin Verlander and the Astros’ infield [2017 ALDS v Red Sox], photo unattributed at mlb.com. Correa and Altuve with celebratory handshake (ALCS game 7 following Altuve’s solo HR), photo by Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle at houstonchronicle.com/sports. 2017 WS MVP George Springer rounds the bases (after hitting his 5th HR of the series), as LA’s YU Darvish looks away (2017 WS, game 7), photo by David J. Phillip/AP via businessinsider.com. 2017 WS, game 7, journeyman Pitcher Charlie Morton, who pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief, is hugged by Catcher Brian McCann, after making the final out; Astros beat the LA Dodgers 5-1, and 4 games-to-3, to win their first World Series title; photo by Getty Images via sportsonearth.com. Celebrating fans at watch-party in Minute Maid Park in Houston later that evening, photo by Reuters via dailymail.co.uk. Astros fans watch as players roll by during the World Series Victory parade (Friday, Nov. 3, 2017), in downtown Houston, photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle at “Editor’s choice: Photos from the Astros championship parade” (houstonchronicle.com/[Gallery]). 1975 Houston Astros jersey logo via sportslogos.net/Houston Astros].

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances, 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 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.

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