If you followed our Twitter feed on July 3-4, you already know this: MiLB teams put up some pretty awesome numbers during what’s traditionally the busiest couple days of the season — to the tune of 1,059,975 fans coming through the turnstiles.
It’s the second time in the last three years MiLB drew more than one million fans over that two-day span (2015). Additionally, 10 percent of MiLB teams set franchise records for single-game attendance during the holiday. We tracked many of them in real time on our Twitter feed — check it out here.
The 14 U.S.-based leagues and 160 clubs that charge admission averaged 6,667 fans per game over the holiday period, drawing 521,020 fans for 79 games on July 3, and 538,955 fans for 80 games on July 4. Each MiLB team hosted a game in its respective community over those two days.
“Our ballparks provide fun, memory-making experiences for our fans all year long,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “The fact that more than one million fans spent their Fourth of July holiday in Minor League Baseball ballparks solidifies our teams’ prominence in their respective communities.”
Here are some highlights:
- A sellout crowd of 11,398 attended the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Class AA; Southern League) homestand finale Monday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, marking the ballpark’s largest single crowd since 11,481 on July 3, 2008. Coming one year after a sellout of 10,238 at the July 3, 2016, game, it is the first time in the ballpark’s 15-year history that it has hosted consecutive Independence Day celebration sellouts. The three 10,000-plus crowds in the Jumbo Shrimp’s inaugural season are the most for Jacksonville since the same number in 2008. In 2017, they are the three largest single-game crowds at any Southern League game this season, occurring Wednesday, April 12 (10,477); Friday, April 14 (10,023); and Monday, July 3 (11,398). “We are so grateful for Jumbo Shrimp fans’ outstanding support, and for creating a special highlight to the start of our second half of the season,” said Jumbo Shrimp General Manager Harold Craw. “We look forward to sharing affordable family fun with returning and new guests at each game the rest of the inaugural Jumbo Shrimp season.”
- The Oklahoma City Dodgers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) spoiled the Independence Day celebration with a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Nashville Sounds in front of a sellout crowd of 11,764 fans Monday night — the largest crowd in First Tennessee Park history.
- The largest crowd for the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low A; Midwest League) in the 25-year franchise history saw the TinCaps beat the Lake County Captains, 4-0, on the Fourth of July. The crowd of 9,266 at Parkview Field eclipsed the previous high of 9,193 set on July 4, 2015. “TinCaps fans are the best,” said team president Mike Nutter. “And we certainly don’t take that for granted. This is a day we circle on the calendar each year, so for everything to come together with great weather, a shutout win, the City of Fort Wayne’s fireworks, and everything in between—it’s very special.”
- In front of a franchise record 9,810 fans at The Diamond, C.J. Hinojosa lined a walk-off base hit to right field as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) defeated Erie, 4-3 on Independence Day.
- The Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) defeated the rival Charlotte Knights 1-0 in front of a single-game, paid attendance record crowd of 11,897 fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
- The Fort Myers Miracle (High A; Florida State League) drew 9,478 fans to Hammond Stadium on July 3, a single-game record for the franchise. “We have the best fans in all of Minor League Baseball,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Hemmen. “While we can never control the weather, we want to reward our amazing fans with their continued loyalty.”
- The Winston-Salem Dash (High A; Carolina League) drew 9,007 fans, the largest crowd in BB&T Ballpark history, in Tuesday’s Fourth of July contest. This year’s Independence Day game shattered the ballpark’s previous record of 8,184 fans, which occurred on July 4, 2014. The downtown facility has welcomed more than 8,000 fans in each of the last four Fourth of July games.
- Playing before a record-tying crowd of 6,850, the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) surged to a 5-2 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs Sunday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Other teams setting attendance records or playing before capacity crowds include Connecticut Tigers, Biloxi Shuckers, Johnson City Cardinals, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Missoula Osprey, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Pulaski Yankees and Portland Sea Dogs. Additionally, three teams set new marks in renovated ballparks, including the Akron RubberDucks, Memphis Redbirds and Oklahoma City Dodgers.