MLB News: Mets Sale, Frank McCourt, Attendance and More

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Mets sale to hedge fund manager falls through

It's been a few weeks so we're going to do some catch up. A couple of weeks ago, the prospective sale of a partial stake in the New York Mets to hedge fund manager David Einhorn fell through. The Mets were set to bring in $200 million to help shore up their finances in light of their current owners troubles related to the Bernie Madoff scandal.

It looks like part of the problem was that Einhorn wanted to push the process to where he'd be pre-approved to take over as the Mets majority owner in the event current ownership wasn't able to pay him back on time, but it also looked like Einhorn wanted more say then what's usually given to a minority partner.

Now it looks like the Mets are going to once again go to the market, but this time they're setting their sights a little lower. Instead of one big investor, they're going to look at bringing on a group of investors willing to pony up $20 million each. What will be more interesting to see is how the Mets hold up with their poor on field performance and how much owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz will have to put into the team until their legal woes catch up to them.

Frank McCourt turns down $1.2 billion bid for Dodgers

Frank McCourt, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, turned down the public $1.2 billion bid for the team. While McCourt hasn't spoken publicly on the matter, a recent court filing indicates that he didn't accept the terms of the deal. It looks like McCourt is going down with this ship and his attorney called the bid for the team a publicity stunt. The bid came from Bill Burke, the founder of the Los Angeles marathon and the purchase of the team would have been financed by Chinese investors.

Mets in MLB's cross hairs

The New York Mets wanted to wear baseball caps of the September 11 first responders on Sunday night baseball this past weekend. MLB turned down the request to do so and even threatened to go as far as confiscating the caps so the players on the field couldn't defy the leagues denial of their request.

Now Bud Selig is a little upset because the whole matter was brought into the public eye. He's claimed he was thrown under the bus and the whole story got some extra play because the Mets' game was moved onto prime time. The hats were ultimately put on a table in the clubhouse and they were signed for charity.

Lehigh Valley tops minor league attendance again

For the second year in a row, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs led minor league baseball in attendance with a per-game average of 9,249. This was even better then their 9,227 mark from last year when they led minor league baseball. They sold out 53 consecutive games and 60 of their 68 home games during 2011. They were also the only team to average more than 9,000 fans per game. The Louisville Bats came in second place with 8,716 and right behind them was the Round Rock Express with 8,587 per game.

Attendance Report

With about two weeks left in the season, it could come down to the end of the season to see who the MLB attendance champion is. Right now, the Philadelphia Phillies lead with an average attendance of 45,501 but they're operating at 104.2 percent capacity. In second place are the usual turnstile champions, the New York Yankees. They're a little less then 500 games behind the Phillies but they're operating at an 89.4 percent capacity so if they have a few big crowds in their finals few games, they might be able to bridge the gap. What will be particularly interesting is their final home series is against the Boston Red Sox. That series could present a variety of interesting scenarios because, with the Tampa Bay Rays streaking, you could see the Yankees potentially playing to knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs.

The San Francisco Giants are the only other team over the 40,000 mark with 41,820 tickets sold per game. The Minnesota Twins (39,431) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (39,017) round out the top five.

The Oakland Athletics are back at the bottom with 18,357 per game. They've recently fell behind the second-to-last-place Tampa Bay Rays with 18,549. The only other team below the 20,000 mark is the Florida Marlins with 18,617.

The Yankees are the top draw on the road with 33,951 per game. Second place is a little bit of a surprise because it's the Cincinnati Reds with 33,410. The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres are also surprising top five finishers while the number three Phillies make sense. The worst draw on the road are the Baltimore Orioles with 26,718 tickets sold per game.

Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.

Read more great baseball stuff at The Hardball Times.


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