Why did MLB's attendance drop? | Bonehead Picks

Why did Major League Baseball’s attendance drop in 2018?

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Major League Baseball’s playoffs are in full swing. There are multiple 100 win teams participating and there are intriguing players hoping to make an impact in getting their teams to the World Series. The 2018 Major League Baseball regular season was another season of epic performances both at the plate and on the mound but the biggest news regarding the MLB regular season is that there was a notable attendance decrease from 2017 to 2018 and it is important for Major League Baseball to understand why.

MLB’s ballpark average attendance dropped 4 percent from 2017 to 2018. This news comes despite another season with three teams that won at least 100 games, which is the win total of a truly great team. There were also terrific performances by position players like Boston’s Mookie Betts, Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon. Of course, Mike Trout had another outstanding Mike Trout year.  However, there were was also big-time pitching performances from players like the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Washington’s Max Scherzer, and Houston’s Justin Verlander. In deGrom’s case, he was so great that he is getting realistic MVP consideration as a pitcher. Ironically, one of the biggest reasons for the drop in MLB attendance may have to do with the great pitching currently in the majors.

For the first time ever, there were more total strikeouts than hits for Major League Baseball players. We are in the era of the strikeout and that is viewed as unappealing even if there has been a home run boon as well. While it the boom or bust feeling of every at-bat might be appealing for some, there is less action if there are less singles, doubles, or even putting the ball in play with popouts and groundouts. When it comes to the decline of attendance in baseball, it is also worth mentioning that six stadiums set record lows for attendance including Baltimore’s Camden Yards and Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field where two of the three 100 loss teams played their home games. There was also some truly bad baseball as there were three teams with 100 losses and that will drive away customers.

Major League Baseball experienced its lowest attendance since 2003 perhaps due to something even they might understand. Part of the postseason advertising for the 2018 MLB Postseason have been advertisements that have denounced the anti-bat flipping and “unwritten” rules. Baseball has long been accused of not allowing players to show personality or exuberance due to the “unwritten” rules. There has been no Major League Baseball equivalent of the NFL’s letting up on touchdown celebrations. Major League Baseball needs to address their attendance issue.


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