With little chance of re-signing Rolen, Wade might be forced into a trade. Rolen's recent struggles would do little to dampen interest. "I don't think his skills have diminished," says one NL scout. "I'd still love to have Scott Rolen on my team."
Since spring training Wade has maintained that he has no plans to deal Rolen, but last weekend he left himself a little wiggle room. "I've said we're fully prepared to play out the season with Scott," the G.M. said before Rolen's two-homer outburst on Saturday. "I never said we're not going to trade him."
Staying Away In Droves
When attendance across the majors was down slightly early in the season, baseball officials had plenty of excuses—poor weather, a slumping economy, lack of marquee matchups. Nothing to worry about, they said. It's too early to jump to conclusions.
It's time to worry. The weather has turned warm and most traditional rivals have played at least two series, but through Sunday attendance had dropped 6% compared with last year's. Worse, 20 of the 30 teams were behind last year's pace. The Orioles, averaging 32,161, were on track to pull fewer than three million fans for the first time since Camden Yards opened in 1992. The Indians, among baseball's top-drawing clubs since '94, are down 22% at the gate. The Reds, despite a surprising run atop the NL Central, have seen a 12% drop. Hardest hit have been commissioner Bud Selig's own Brewers, who drew an average of 23,401 to their first 29 home dates—a 30% decline just one year after Miller Park opened.
A slight drop this year was to be expected because for the first time since 1996 there were no new ballparks, the novelty of which inflated the overall numbers. Still, the extent to which fans are staying away is troubling: Does anyone think the prospect of a work stoppage will have them flocking to the parks?