7 States That Love Minor League Baseball
There is little that’s glamorous about Minor League baseball, almost by design. Usually, news about the Minors cycles quietly, unless it’s a story about a player taking a bite out of another player’s ear. Then it gets some play, but eventually everyone goes back to paying attention to the majors, since most guys in the Minors are either trying to get back into the MLB proper, or trying to move up for the first time.
It figures, then, that the average attendance of a Minor League game would be considerably lower than its major league counterpart. What’s so interesting is exactly how that figure breaks down. Thanks to rbhindepmo, a contributor to the excellently named portion of Reddit dedicated to ‘MapPorn’– that is, basically, different infographics showing interesting ways to look at the world — we now know which states support their local Minor League teams the most consistently. The Internet is awesome.
The data used for this information, which maps the total attendance of the games over the number of games played in the state, is taken from David Kronheim’s NumberTamer.com, and the original PDF file used for the data can be found here. The original Reddit thread can be found by clicking on this link. Also worth noting — Wyoming is the only state in the Lower 48 that does not host any Minor League baseball games. Poor Wyoming.
7. New Hampshire
5,125 fans averaged over 69 games
Beating out all but one other New England state, New Hampshire’s Minor League team, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, brings a consistent draw to its Eastern League home games. The Fisher Cats moved from Connecticut in 2004, and are the double-A affiliate team of the Toronto Blue Jays.
5,144 fans averaged over 145 games
Between three separate Minor League clubs — the Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate Salt Lake Bees, the Ogden Raptors (a farm team of the LA Dodgers), and the Orem Owlz, also affiliated with the Angels — Utah offers its residents year-round access to potential Californian prospects.
5,299 fans averaged over 299 games
Boasting five Minor League teams — the Indianapolis Indians, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the South Bend Silver Hawks, the Gary SouthShore RailCats, and the Evansville Otters — Indiana is able to maintain a healthy interest in its sub-Major baseball teams, even if the state’s residents are arguably most famous for their high school and college basketball enthusiasm.
5,751 fans averaged over 138 games
Oklahoma’s two Minor League teams, the Tulsa Drillers and the Oklahoma City RedHawks (affiliated with the Rockies and the Astros, respectively), provide a consistent draw, bringing in nearly eight-hundred thousand fans in total over the 2013 season.
5,900 fans averaged over 431 games
No other team comes close to the sheer number of Minor League baseball games played in Ohio, which has, apparently, a bottomless thirst for baseball. In addition to the two Major League teams (the Indians and the Reds), they have six Minor League squads spread out across the state. Exhaustively, they are the Dayton Dragons, the Lake County Captains, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the Lake Erie Crushers, the Akron RubberDucks, and the Columbus Clippers. That is a lot of baseball.
2. Rhode Island
7,827 fans averaged over 69 games
The Pawtucket Red Sox, Rhode Island’s only Minor League team, is riding the vibes from its nearby Major League affiliate, the Boston Red Sox, who are able to bring everyone and all of their relatives to each one of their home games. Rehabbing stars from Boston at Minor League prices probably don’t hurt: that picture of David Ortiz is from a Triple-A stint he had with the Paw Sox.
1. New Mexico
7,994 fans averaged over 71 games
Like Rhode Island, New Mexico only has one Minor League team — the Albuquerque Isotopes, although pictured are the late, lamented Albuquerque Dukes. And, as a result, everyone in New Mexico who wants to see some Minor League play is flocking to ‘Topes games. Another interesting fact about this whole thing, per the original Reddit user, “The top states for indy league per-game attendance are Minnesota (St. Paul Saints), New York (Long Island Ducks, Rockland Boulders) and Kansas (Kansas City T-Bones/Wichita Wingnuts).” Indy league games, according to the poster, are games played by baseball teams not affiliated with the MLB.