Minor league baseball draws 103,483 for 47 games in return


Fans are socially distanced during the first inning of a Low A Southeast League baseball game between the Dunedin Blue Jays and the Tampa Tarpons at George M. Steinbrenner Field Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Minor league baseball is starting back up after having their season canceled last year by the pandemic. The Tarpons were welcoming dogs at the game. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Minor league baseball drew 103,483 fans for 47 games on its opening day after missing the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The largest crowd Tuesday was 5,004 for the Tulsa Drillers’ 4-3 loss to Amarillo in the Double-A Central.

All four Double-A South games were postponed by rain. The Triple-A West schedule does not start until Thursday.

The 176 minor league teams drew 41,504,077 in 2019, up 2.6% from 40,450,337 in 2018, and the ninth-highest total in minor league history. The 4,044 average increased 2.1% over 2018’s 3,960.

Major League Baseball eliminated the separate governing body of minor league baseball and cut affiliations from 160 to 120 this season.

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