Which early trends are legit?
Take six days of games from early June, or mid-August, and you would never see the kind of sweeping conclusions or panic or euphoria that you see extracted from the first week of every season. It's one small slice, only a touch of frosting on a cake, and not enough for condemnation or congratulation.
But that doesn't mean the results from the first six days should be completely ignored, either.
NEED MORE INFORMATION ON: Attendance. There are lows being reported from Yankee Stadium to Cleveland to Wrigley Field, rows and rows of empty seats; it's clear that the economy is having an enormous impact on the Indians. But keep in mind that some of the worst turnstile numbers are always posted in April, when kids are in school and it's still cold and the idea of sitting with your fingers numb for three hours isn't exactly the most attractive thing.
But I would love to know if the life habits of would-be patrons have changed significantly to the point that a 25-year-old who might have gone to the ballpark on a Tuesday night 10 years ago would rather sit in his apartment and watch the game on television, while tweeting and texting. (And local TV ratings in the past couple of years have been strong.)
Five years ago, if you were struggling to find a consistent cell signal in a ballpark during a game, that was a nuisance. But now I wonder if it is slowly becoming a deal-breaker for some fans, as some friends have mentioned to me. Maybe those teams that can find and install the technology that allows fans to continue tweeting and texting at the park -- rather than having their phones' signals interrupted -- will have a greater appeal to their target audiences. It's a problem worth exploring, because those things are a new umbilical cord.
For the readers, an open-ended question: What are your theories for the declines in attendance we're seeing?
As far as the empty seats in Wrigley Field are concerned: Rick Morrissey hopes it is a sign that Cubs fans are sick of losing.
NOT BUYING: Boston's slow start. Look, it may be that Josh Beckett is more of a back-end-of-the-rotation type of pitcher, now that he works in the 90-93 mph range, and John Lackey's best days appear to be behind him. But the team is loaded with offense and eventually, it will hit, and as with the Rangers, the back end of the Boston rotation is going to work with a lot of runs.
For more on Boston's situation, starts Buster likes, ones he doesn't buy, and players who are the real deal, plus depth chart updates, a number of key injury updates from around the league, and some deal discussions, you must be an ESPN Insider.