To nobody’s surprise, attendance at the New York Mets spring training games is down 15% so far this year. The NY Post reports that the team cites the economy and the loss of so many players to the World Baseball Classic as the main factors.
It’s a bad situation for the Mets and the town of Port St. Lucie, FL. Although the overall economy is beyond anybody’s control, the World Baseball Classic is controllable. Losing 16 Mets to the WBC is too much. And not just for spring training game attendance figures.
The Mets, and every team, need some time to gel together in March. Losing so many players could have a detrimental effect on the team. That’s yet to be seen but my guess is that the Mets feel the impact in April when the regular season gets rolling.
I’ve written before that the WBC shouldn’t be played in March, it should be in November when the MLB post-season ends. And each team should be able to designate at least one player that’s too valuable to participate such as Johan Santana in the Mets case.