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"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Opening Day Payroll, Attendance, Starters & other cool stuff


Harper's homer and subsequent hair flip was the highlight of the Nats opening day: photo via

Harper’s homer and subsequent hair flip was the highlight of the Nats opening day: photo via

Every year I try to attend Nats Opening Day.  Since giving up our season tickets, we’ve had to pay (handsomely) for the opportunity, and yesterday was no exception.  For nostalga purposes, we bought into our old section (131) for the home opener and had a great time in the sun.  Too bad Ian Desmond had money on the game and enabled three unearned runs to score.  Oh and our first pinch hitter off the bench?  The powerful and feared Matt den Dekker.  So yeah, this team looks like it may struggle offensively for a bit.

Here’s some fun stuff that I have been tracking for years inre opening day.

Opening Day Payroll; Nats

Counting payroll is always a tough one.  I have a payroll tracking worksheet (now updated for our last three NRI additions and our opening day roster) where I have been trying to estimate the Nats payroll.

Why the discrepancies?   I can’t quite figure out how my and Cot’s estimates are off: I’m counting the $2M option year buyout to Adam LaRoche, while Cots does not.  Taking that out, i’d still be off by about the same amount, only to the wrong side.  My guess is that Cots is missing a min-salary guy somewhere.  Meanwhile USA Today’s estimate is counting the entirety of Dan Uggla‘s 2015 salary of $13.5M towards Washington’s total; If you took that away except for the MLB min portion Washington is responsible for you’d be at $161,518,497 as their estimate.  USA Today’s numbers also don’t take into account the nearly $40 million dollars (net) that the Dodgers are paying players who no longer play for them; their payroll (per USA Today’s estimates) should really be nearer the $270M range.

You know what they say; a few million here, a few million there, and soon you’re talking about real money.

Opening Day Payroll; MLB

Here’s a quickie little XLS where I have the opening day payroll for all 30 teams going back 5 years.  Caveat; I usually depend on the USAToday salary database for these numbers, which have proved to have some issues (as discussed above).

USAToday has the Dodgers at $230M, but that’s before another $40M of payments to former players.  Cots has the Dodgers at $271M, a more accurate figure.  That’s first place by a significant margin.  In second place is the Yankees: $213M-$217M for a team that many feel will come in last last place.

I’m going to update this XLS for Cot’s figures, since USAToday’s are just so bad.


Opening day Nats park attendance

Attendance for yesterday’s game was announced at 42,295.  Here’s some attendance milestones for the franchise:

  • Nats park capacity for 2015 seems to be 41,456, an increase of 40 seats from last year
  • 2015’s opening day crowd wasn’t even close to 2013’s: 45,274.  That remains the regular season record attendance.
  • All time record attendance?  The ill-fated 2012 NLDS game 5: 45,966.
  • The first game in franchise history; 2005 in RFK: 45,596, which stood until the NLDS record-setting game.
  • The long-running regular season attendance record was the great Fathers day 2006 game in RFK against the Yankees: 45,157.  That record stood for more than 6 years.


Opening Day Starters

Here’s my opening day starters worksheet in Google docs.  Thanks to some turnover at the top of some of these rotations, the two active leaders in Opening Day starts (CC Sabathia and Mark Buehrle) did not extend their leads of 11 and 9 respectively.  The names of note for opening day starts:

  • Leader in Opening day starts who extended their total in 2015: Felix Hernandez, making his 8th.
  • Leader in consecutive opening day starts: also Hernandez, making his 7th total (he missed one earlier in his career).
  • Four pitchers now have 7 opening day starts on their resume: Bartolo Colon, Jered Weaver, James Shields and Justin Verlander.  Verlander’s streak of 7 consecutive starts was broken when he was supplanted by David Price for 2015.  Of these four, it seems likely only that Shields will continue.
  • 12 pitchers made their first opening day start in 2015, including our own Max Scherzer.
  • The most ever?  Tom Seaver with 16.  The most consecutive?  Jack Morris with 14.


cool stuff

6 Responses to 'Opening Day Payroll, Attendance, Starters & other cool stuff'

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  1. Terrific stuff, Todd.
    You know you’re in Washington when a baseball blog paraphrases Everitt Dirkson!

    Mark L

    7 Apr 15 at 12:06 pm

  2. Mark, I have to admit, I have used that quote often but never knew who to attribute it to. Great pull!

    Todd Boss

    7 Apr 15 at 1:55 pm

  3. I heard him use that phrase when I was young and impressionable; he had an unforgettable voice. He said billion but other than that you were spot on.

    Mark L

    7 Apr 15 at 4:51 pm

  4. Do guys such as Uggla count anything against the team currently employing them, even the minimum? I don’t know.

    I’m glad to finally get things going. Max and Harp put on quite a show. Too bad no one else was ready for prime time. I’m sorry, but if you call off someone at ANY level, you DARN well better make the catch. A HS SS would have been running laps after something like that; I don’t know what you do to a supposed clubhouse leader.

    In other news, Boz dropped what seemed like a strong hint that the Nats are interested in Chapman. Right now, I’d just be interested in a few guys who can make contact on our end.


    7 Apr 15 at 8:48 pm

  5. Uggla pay; yes the Nats have to pay at least the MLB minimum for Uggla. they don’t get him for free. And then that money lessens the amount Atlanta is paying by $507,500. If you look at the way Cots shows the nats payroll for 2015 (in their xls form), you can see the accounting.

    Desmond; not the best opening day. His throwing error was a classic “hurry” throw that he didn’t have to make. The pop-up call-off was ridiculous. At least Uggla tried to deflect some blame to protect his new teammate (that was good to see).

    Chapman; like this team needs a reliever right now. Did you not see opening day?

    Todd Boss

    8 Apr 15 at 8:31 am

  6. […] recurring “Opening Day” trivia/useless information post.  Here was 2015’s version, 2014‘s and 2013.  Many of the below links are to Google XLS docs that i’ve updated […]

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