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Parsing the spring-training attendance numbers

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Spring Training 2011
With Spring Training 2011 now over, it's time to look at the winners and losers in the annual tune-up to the Major League Baseball season, with over 3.5 million fans attending games in Florida, Arizona and other exhibition venues.

There are actually a few different sets of spring-training numbers floating around out there: MLB tallies all spring-training and exhibition game attendance by team, while officials in each state count only the games played in their states. Here are the official MLB numbers:

Team                       Home Gms  Tot Att       Av   Rd Gms  Tot Att       Av
Baltimore Orioles 16 115417 7214 16 103854 6491 Boston Red Sox 16 120613 7538 19 171558 9029 Chicago White Sox 15 91749 6117 17 113887 6699 Cleveland Indians 16 59744 3734 15 94487 6299 Detroit Tigers 17 119516 7030 17 101901 5994 Kansas City Royals 15 72900 4860 16 89746 5609 Los Angeles Angels of Ana 17 144209 8483 15 120000 8000 Minnesota Twins 16 129453 8091 16 116640 7290 New York Yankees 15 163085 10872 16 128124 8008 Oakland Athletics 17 98349 5785 17 167378 9846 Seattle Mariners 16 112338 7021 15 118820 7921 Tampa Bay Rays 16 95859 5991 15 110700 7380 Texas Rangers 15 103507 6900 15 105693 7046 Toronto Blue Jays 15 68195 4546 16 115359 7210 AL Totals 222 1494934 6734 225 1658147 7370 Arizona Diamondbacks 19 207976 10946 18 125561 6976 Atlanta Braves 19 156761 8251 15 95548 6370 Chicago Cubs 18 171587 9533 15 117798 7853 Cincinnati Reds 15 62097 4140 17 111978 6587 Colorado Rockies 16 169571 10598 16 101727 6358 Florida Marlins 16 70450 4403 15 85059 5671 Houston Astros 18 91122 5062 17 88920 5231 Los Angeles Dodgers 16 139261 8704 20 172811 8641 Milwaukee Brewers 16 74330 4646 15 103899 6927 New York Mets 16 87413 5463 18 108356 6020 Philadelphia Phillies 18 232474 12915 17 127106 7477 Pittsburgh Pirates 16 88003 5500 17 176639 10391 St. Louis Cardinals 15 92652 6177 16 95167 5948 San Diego Padres 15 75906 5060 16 117151 7322 San Francisco Giants 18 233225 12957 17 155813 9165 Washington Nationals 15 65958 4397 14 72040 5146 NL Totals 266 2018786 7589 263 1855573 7055 MLB Totals 488 3513720 7200 488 3513720 7200

No surprises when you look at the top teams in the Grapefruit League: In terms of the top draws, we have the Phillies (whose numbers are inflated by two exhibition games at Citizens Bank Park), the Braves (again, the numbers inflated by two exhibition games at Turner Field), the Yankees, the Twins and the Red Sox. There were two clear winners in the Grapefruit League: the Orioles and Tigers drew surprisingly well.

In the Cactus League, the winners were also clear: the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, who shot to the top of the attendance rankings for games played in Arizona. (The Cubs technically drew more overall than did the Rockies, but that counts a Las Vegas game.) In terms of only Arizona games, the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Giants and Cubs were the top draws, allowing the Cactus League to set an attendance record of 1,595,614. It's pretty obvious Salt River Fields at Talking Stick was a huge success.

Now, there are some numbers that remain a mystery to us. While the neighborhood around Maryvale Baseball Park isn't much, the Brewers really should be a better draw: the experience is good and the Brewers will be contenders. Same situation with the Nationals: it's a team on the rise, and there's nothing explicitly wrong with Space Coast Stadium. And given the combination of a contending team and a nice facility, the San Diego Padres should be a better draw at Peoria Stadium.

But these are quibbles: with records set, this spring was obviously a success overall for Major League Baseball. With a new Red Sox spring facility set to open in 2012, we're expecting a big spring in Florida.

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