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Volume 24 No. 160
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MLB Franchise Notes: Ted Lerner Talks Rise In Nationals Attendance This Season

In DC, Dan Steinberg noted the Nationals have the fourth-biggest attendance increase in MLB, averaging nearly 30,000 fans a game, and "seem likely to finish in the top half of MLB attendance for the first time since 2005.” Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner, in an interview on MASN, said, “I’ve said all along, when we got to the point where we deserved the fans to come out -- when we were winning, and winning consistently -- they would be here. It’s proved out. That’s starting to happen. … I only anticipate it’ll get tougher to get tickets as the season goes on, as we get closer and closer to September and hopefully playoffs” (, 7/12).

BUC-ING A TREND: In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik writes, “As someone who has been a frequent critic of [Pirates GM Neal] Huntington, I have no choice but to reconsider my opinion" with the team currently in first place in the NL Central with a 48-37 record. To do otherwise "would be to deny the 2012 season." This is "not to suggest Huntington should be viewed as some baseball genius, but rather that it might be time to stop viewing him as some doddering fool.” Although one "winning season -- out of five -- does not make a man a success, a significant improvement in 2011 and a likely even greater one in 2012 must, at least, peel away some of the layers of failure that have surrounded Huntington” (, 7/13).

MONEY MAKERS: In San Jose, Tim Kawakami wrote under the header, “Are The San Francisco Giants Ready To Step Up To Yankees-Red Sox Territory?” Kawakami asked, "What are the Giants going to do with this new economic and popular might? Can this burgeoning economic powerhouse turn into a perennial baseball powerhouse?” There is no reason to “be so bashful now, not with this fan base, that park and all the cash that is gushing into the coffers.” The rest of this season “could be the first stage of a titanic Dodgers-Giants struggle -- on the field, in free agency, and in the broad marketplace.” That would be “entertaining, it would be expensive, and it's exactly what the Giants wanted” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/12).

REPORT CARD: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten in a letter to fans declared, “Dodger pride is back.” In his Wednesday letter, Kasten "lists ownership’s claim of early accomplishments -- lowering parking back to $10, making players more accessible to autographs, more aggressively signing international players, and with the new Andre Ethier contract, demonstrating the ‘resources to assure the Dodgers are contenders year in and year out.’” Dilbeck noted it seems like “a lot of back slapping for a group that has been around for less than three months” (, 7/11).