Brad Ausmus is fired
After both Joe Maddon and Clint Hurdle were let go from their respective managerial positions prior to their teams’ final games on Sunday, Brad Ausmus got the axe from the Angels on Monday. While the first two were not really big surprises, this one comes as a bit more of a shock. Speculation that this could be a possibility started in earnest later in the day on Sunday after the news of Maddon’s exit from Chicago had already come out. Things moved quickly from there and on Monday Los Angeles decided to part ways with their first-year manager. On the one hand, it seems entirely unfair to fire a guy after just one year in which his two best players — Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani — were limited by injury and in which his front office gave him next to no help on the pitching staff. On the other hand, the speculation is that this was done to make room for Maddon, who spent 30 years in the organization in one form or another. If you have a guy you really want to bring in and think will make a difference, you have to do what it takes to make it happen. Unfortunately for Ausmus, he was in the way of that.
Sox Spin: I really don’t think there is any here, beyond the fact that a team the Red Sox could theoretically be competing with in 2020 and beyond will have a new manager, likely one with whom we are very familiar.
Ticket Sales fall around the league
A report came out on Monday that stated baseball had its worst year in terms of ticket sales in 16 years, with league-wide sales down at their lowest levels since 2003. To me, it seems like the causes of this are pretty simple, and it starts with the fact that so many teams around the league simply aren’t trying to win right now. I mean, look at the American League. There are great teams at the top, but also historically bad teams at the bottom. Nobody wants to see those teams, and for good reason. This is a good Twitter thread on the issue, showing the attendance drop-off has been much steeper in the American League where the disparity in competition has been vast. It is also worth noting that teams probably don’t care so much about these attendance numbers, or at least not as much as some may think. The real money is, of course, in the TV game, where ratings were up again around the league. Any money that could be lost in attendance is also made up for because of a larger emphasis on luxury box sales and higher prices overall. It’s not good for the long-term health of the game because fewer kids will have fond memories of going to games, but I’m not so sure how much individual owners care about the long-term health of the game.
Sox Spin: The Red Sox are right there with everyone else with their problems of going to a game, and probably worse than most. It’s just so expensive, and we can expect a slight rise in prices again for 2020. It’s just too much money for me, which is why I haven’t been to a game since 2015 and don’t see that changing any time soon.