One of the warmest springs on record continues to benefit Major League Baseball.
Attendance at Major League Baseball games is usually lower prior to Memorial Day because kids are still in school and the weather is unpredictable, but the unseasonably warm temperatures nationwide have resulted in a boost at the gate for most teams. Via the Twitter account of its public relations department, MLB reported Monday, May 14 that attendance was up a robust 6.3 percent from the same number of games last year.
According to the schedules posted at MLB.com, just 10 games have been postponed due to poor weather this season. Only one park (Detroit’s Comerica Park) has been the site of two postponements (April 20 and April 30). There have been just two postponements this month (Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati May 1 and Texas at Baltimore May 9) and the 11-day stretch without a postponement entering the games of tonight, May 21, is a season-high.
Per figures from the National Climatic Data Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce, this April was the third-warmest April on record with a national average temperature of 55 degrees, 3.6 degrees higher than the average April temperature. In addition, the year-to-date temperature of 45.4 degrees is the highest on record.
Players and managers accustomed to raw, rainy and sometimes even snowy conditions in April and early May have noticed the warmer temperatures. “Maybe the biggest surprise is how good the weather’s been,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said May 1. “We’ve been pretty fortunate, considering a lot of the things we went through last year and sometimes [in other years] with some of the cold days. I’ve been really pleased with the weather we’ve gotten to play in.”
In addition to the nice weather, MLB has also been helped by the Miami Marlins opening a new park, the continued success of the Texas Rangers and the revival of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Marlins have played to an average crowd of 29,809 in 16 home dates at Marlins Park, an increase of more than 11,000 from last year’s average of 18,773 at Sun Life Stadium.
The Rangers, who have won the American League pennant the last two years and came within a strike of winning the World Series last season, lead the AL in overall attendance (869,393) and have played to 13 crowds of at least 45,000 at 20 home games at the 48,194-seat The Ballpark in Arlington.
The Dodgers are annually one of the biggest draws in the National League, but as the Frank McCourt divorce saga dragged on last year, the Dodgers’ average attendance dropped by more than 7,000 (from 43,979 in 2010 to 36,236) per game. But thanks to an ownership change (the Dodgers were sold just prior to the season by a group headed by Lakers icon Magic Johnson) and a baseball-best 28-13 start (including a 19-4 mark at home), the Dodgers are playing to an average crowd of 39,119. (All attendance figures from Baseball-Reference.com)