The Indians' attendance of 1,145,825 through 53 games at Progressive Field is up "substantially from last year, when attendance was 1,391,644, the smallest total in 18 years," according to Sheldon Ocker of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. The team has been "on top of its division or a close second all season, and after a rainy month of May, the weather has generally been pleasant." Indians Exec VP/Business Dennis Lehman said, "Overall, our attendance has been OK. Of course, we have a long way to go." The Indians "used a figure of 1.35 million when they formulated a budget for 2011." With "slightly more than 1.4 million tickets already sold and 28 dates remaining, the current projection of 1.75 million would be an increase of nearly 400,000." Ocker noted the team "probably will have to stay in the race well into September to reach that total, and the Tribe plays only one home weekend series next month." Promotions are "an important part of the package to please the fans." The Indians earlier this season "sponsored a postgame concert by the band Lifehouse," and Lehman said, "I think we might do more concerts. I don't know how many, but we looked at 10 to 12 groups this year" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/2).
In Philadelphia, Maria Panaritis writes the Phillies' trade for RF Hunter Pence was a "Santa Claus moment, one of the many the Phils have delivered nearly nonstop since winning the World Series in the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008." If there were "any doubts, the Pence deal dispelled them: The Phillies have become the gift that keeps on giving, in an age when get has been hard to get." On the field and off, the team "has managed what few bosses, elected officials, and even handsomely paid financial wizards have." They have "made big things happen in an economy in which take, can't, and wait are the words favored by lesser leaders with bigger-sounding titles" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/3).
TIME TO SHAKE UP THE IVY? The Cubs enter Wednesday's game with a 45-65 record, the third worst record in MLB, and Comcast SportsNet's David Kaplan said, "I just see the need for major, major change throughout the organization." Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Rosenbloom said Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts "has not held anybody accountable, and fans are holding him accountable." Rosenbloom: "Fans stopped showing up because when Ricketts bought the team and he acted like -- he said he was a fan. ... They had higher expectations for him than the wonks in the Tribune Tower. And he's failed them worse because every fan can see that (Cubs GM Jim) Hendry, as good a guy as he is, has not done it. It's not working, it's not panned out and everybody who gets blamed is gone" ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 8/2).
HOOP DREAMS: In Jacksonville, Mark Woods notes Mayor Alvin Brown keeps bringing up the possibility of an NBA team playing in the city. Brown: "Why not an NBA team one day? Can you imagine that? I can." Woods writes, "I have trouble imagining it. And not just because [Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena], in its current form, wouldn't be big enough for the NBA. This is football country. And it has been hard enough to sell tickets for games not involving Gators, Bulldogs and Seminoles" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 8/3).
PACKING THE PARK: The Red Sox exceeded 3 million tickets sold for the '11 season Monday, surpassing the previous record of Aug. 5, 2009 as the earliest date in club history to reach that mark. The team as of yesterday had sold 3,000,174 tickets, marking the fourth time in history the Red Sox have reached 3 million tickets sold (Red Sox).