Higher velocity and increased shifts led to the major league batting average dropping to .243, its lowest since 1968. Defensive shifts and 100 mph pitches set records this season, contributing to the worrisome offensive drop Major League Baseball is trying to address. When the average dropped this low more than a half-century ago, MLB lowered the pitcher’s mound. Next year’s rules changes announced last month include the first restriction on shifts, a decision made over the objection of the players’ association.

Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021. The 30 MLB teams drew 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games last season. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic. The Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with an average of 47,672 fans flocking to games while the Oakland Athletics drew just 9,849 per game to rank last.

Despite the Guardians success and the excitement of the youngest team in baseball, Cleveland had its worst attendance year ever at Progressive Field.