Pennant Race Fever: September 25
AL East: The Red Sox closed to within five and-a-half games of the Yankees with a magic number of five. The two teams meet head to head in Yankee Stadium tonight. A Yankee win would stretch their lead to six and-a-half games while a Red Sox win would enable them to move to four and-a-half games behind.
AL Central: The Tigers extended their lead over the idle Twins with their win over the Indians yesterday. Their magic number to clinch the AL Central title is eight. The Twins are now three games behind the Tigers. The idle White Sox are now nine and-a-half games behind the Tigers and could be eliminated today with a loss.
AL West: The Angels have a magic number of four to clinch the AL West with the loss by the Rangers to the Athletics. The Rangers are seven games behind the Angels with both teams having 12 games remaining in the 2009 season.
NL East: The Phillies solved the Brad Lidge problem yesterday by having a big enough lead to leave him in the bullpen the whole game. The idle Braves and Marlins fell behind seven and seven and-a-half games respectively in the NL East pennant race.
NL Central: The Cardinals have a magic number of one to eliminate the Cubs from the NL Central race. If the Cardinals win or the Cubs lose today the Cardinals will be the 2009 NL Central champions.
NL West: The Dodgers are six games ahead of the Rockies with a magic number of four to clinch the NL West. The schedule favors the Dodgers who face the Pirates tonight while the Rockies play the Cardinals who will be trying to clinch the NL Central title tonight.
Wild Card Races
AL: The Red Sox are now eight games ahead of the Rangers in the AL wild card race with a magic number of three. All other teams in the wild card race have been eliminated.
NL: The Rockies lead the Braves by three and-a-half games in the NL wild card race. The Marlins and Giants are both four games behind with the Cubs six and-a-half games behind the Rockies.
The Braves have a magic number of 7 while the Marlins and Giants have a magic number of six. The Cubs magic number is now down to four.
The Nationals lost their 100th game of the season to the Dodgers yesterday almost insuring they will get the number one draft pick in 2010. The Pirates still have an outside chance of having the worst record in the majors.
Both Chicago teams could be eliminated today with the Cubs and White Sox both having magic numbers of one….Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard are tied for the major league lead in runs batted in with 132 each…. Albert Pujols is close behind with 129.
Ichiro Suzuki has 215 hits despite playing in only 137 games….Derek Jeter is next with 201 while Robinson Cano needs four hits and Hanley Ramirez needs seven hits for 200 hit seasons….Matt Kemp is four homers short of joining the 30-30 club while Ian Kinsler is one home run short. Kinsler hasn’t homered since September 1.
Albert Pujols is three home runs short of a 50 home run season. He hasn’t homered since September 9 when he hit his 46th and 47th homers of the season….Kendry Morales needs one RBI for his 100th RBI of the 2009 season while Bobby Abreu and Carlos Lee need two more to reach 100 RBI’s.
Joe Mauer leads the AL in batting average, on base percentage, slugging and OPS while Albert Pujols leads the NL and the majors in all of the categories except for batting average….The Athletics were 59-76 and 17 games under .500 on September 4 but have played 14-4 baseball since then and are 73-80 and only seven games under .500 as of today.
Justin Verlander won his 17th game yesterday in the Tigers 6-5 win over the Indians….Felix Hernandez is now 17-5 and has a 2.49 ERA allowing almost a run a game less than Verlander who has a 3.41 ERA….David Ortiz had one homer in 178 at bats at the end of May. He now needs four homers to have 30 homers.
Major league baseball attendance continues to drop as the season has hit college and pro football head-on. Latest figures at baseball-reference.com show that over five million less fans have attended games this season.
21 teams have seen a drop in attendance in 2009. Four of the teams with an increase have 402 or less more fans per game than in 2008. The Mets have lost over 826,000 fans this season. The crosstown Yankees have lost over 539,00 fans. New York City has lost 1,365,681 fans in 2009.
The old adage about build a new ballpark and they will come hasn’t held true for the Yankees and Mets. The Mets have drawn over 10,000 fewer fans per game while the Yankees have over 7,000 less fans per game.
Despite their loss in attendance the Yankees and Mets have drawn over 3 million fans in 2009. The Dodgers, Cardinals and Phillies have also drawn over 3 million fans.
The Brewers are the best of the worst drawing teams. They are only drawing 67 less fans per game than they drew in 2008.
Angels, Cubs, Brewers and Red Sox have a chance of drawing 3 million fans by the end of the season. The Royals have improved the most with over 196,000 more fans than in 2008 with 2,549 more fans per game.
Ten teams should finish the season with less than 2 milllion fans. 2,207 less fans per game in MLB this season is another indicator of how bad the economy is.
We should see even fewer exorbitant contracts handed out to free agents during the offseason. The owners have the attendance figures to show the agents for these players they can’t afford to keep handing out Mark Teixeira type contracts.
The teams have other revenue streams coming in from television, radio and concessions so only the teams know what the bottom line will be at the end of the season when all the figures are tallied.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see more high paid veterans released during the offseason to make up for the loss of revenue.
One thing for sure is that we won’t be hearing any statements from Bud Selig about how great a season major league baseball had financially in 2009 because it wouldn’t be true.