The attendance -- or lack thereof -- at Cactus League spring training games so far this year is becoming an interesting sub-thread to following the Cubs.
Yesterday, attendance was as follows: the Cubs drew 6,229 -- only about half capacity at Mesa. Other parks in the Cactus League drew the following for day games: Tempe (2,880), Glendale (3,878), Maryvale (2,488), Surprise (3,041), Peoria (3,014) and the new Salt River complex (7,575). A night game between the Dodgers and Reds at Goodyear drew 4,012.
This year's spring training schedule is a week "earlier" than last year's because the regular season schedule starts earlier. I made a comparison the other day that might not have been valid because I was comparing a date that was later in the month in 2010.
So instead, here are the attendance figures for a comparable Thursday a year ago, March 4, 2010: Surprise (7,332); Peoria (6,205); Mesa (7,496); Scottsdale (7,062); Tempe (4,639), and Tucson (5,730).
There is no question in my mind that Cactus League attendance is off -- in some cases, way off. Not one Cubs game at Mesa is sold out, and only two -- the Giants game on March 20 and the White Sox game on March 24 -- are sold out of lawn tickets. In some past years, these games and some others would have been sold out a month ago. This is a story worth watching.
RF Fukudome SS Castro 1B Colvin C Soto 3B Moore 2B Baker LF Johnson CF Jackson P Garza
Today, after Matt Garza starts, we should see Alberto Cabrera, John Gaub, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood.
Bruce Chen starts for the Royals. He'll be followed by Danny Duffy, Patrick Keating, Jeremy Jeffress, Blaine Hardy, Jesse Chavez and Steven Shell.
Here's all the media information for today.
MLB.com Gameday for today's game
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today. Today's game is on mlb.com only with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie (who does the Tennessee Smokies games) on the call.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.