Bo­ras crit­i­cizes teams try­ing to re­build

Belleville News-Democrat - - Sports - BY RON­ALD BLUM

The agent for free agent Bryce Harper and many of base­ball’s top play­ers claims re­build­ing teams have be­come a “com­pet­i­tive can­cer” that caused this sea­son’s 4 per­cent at­ten­dance drop.

As the sport’s of­fi­cials start to con­sider pos­si­ble rules changes to spark of­fense and speed up play, Scott Bo­ras acidly cri­tiqued sev­eral clubs that were among the 17 to draw fewer fans this year than last.

Bo­ras pointed out Louisiana State’s base­ball team had a higher av­er­age at­ten­dance for its 37 home games than the Mi­ami Mar­lins did for their 81 – 10,786 to 10,014.

“The fans of Florida have cer­tainly brought the MIA to Mi­ami,” he said Wed­nes­day in a court­yard out­side the gen­eral man­agers’ meet­ings.

He claimed when “the di­vi­sional clubs come to Min­nesota, it’s got­ten so bad that only one of the Twins shows up.”

And he crit­i­cized the Toronto Blue Jays, who had the big­gest de­crease in the ma­jor leagues this year, fall­ing by 878,000 fans to 2.33 mil­lion.

“They’ve lost near a third of their fan base due to the blue flu of not bring­ing at­trac­tive play­ers the fans find in­ter­est­ing to their mar­ket,” he said.

Bo­ras has self-in­ter­est in en­cour­ag­ing spend­ing, want­ing fewer clubs jet­ti­son­ing vet­er­ans in fa­vor of youth and more hand­ing out lu­cra­tive con­tracts – es­pe­cially to his clients.

Ma­jor League Base­ball’s av­er­age at­ten­dance dropped to 28,830, its low­est since 2003 af­ter 14 con­sec­u­tive sea­sons top­ping 30,000, and six ball­parks set record lows. Bo­ras con­nected the drop to non­com­pet­i­tive clubs: There were three 100-loss teams for the sec­ond time since 1985 and the first since a record four in 2002. And there were eight 95-loss teams for the first time in big league his­tory.

“The re­al­ity of it is they’re los­ing their fan base,” he said.

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