Attendance drop, strikeout rise has MLB concerned

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball attendance is headed to its lowest average in 15 years. And it’s not only because of the historically bad weather that’s plagued the first third of the season.

Strikeouts exceeded hits in a full calendar month for the first time in April and are on track to do so again in May. Five teams are on pace to lose 100 or more games in the same season for the first time.

Yet, there are trends Major League Baseball views as positive: New pace rules have cut the average time of a nine-inning game by five minutes, mound trips have dropped dramatically and home runs have receded from last year’s record level.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We’re relatively early in the season still and it has been an aberrational part of a season.”

Heading into the weekend, the average attendance of 27,207 was down 6 percent from 28,931 on the Friday before Memorial Day last season. Last…

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