Fans turn out in record numbers for first two weeks

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball has
enjoyed a record start to the season with fans flocking back to
the ballparks.

Through the first two full weeks of the 2004 season, the average attendance was 31,223, an increase of 4,105 fans per game over last season, the league said Monday.

It is the highest average attendance over the opening two
weeks since detailed data was first recorded in 1980.

The only other season in which the average attendance over
the first two weeks topped 30,000 was in 1993, when an average of
30,436 fans attended games.

MLB drew a total of 5,651,347 fans through Sunday's games, an increase of 15.1 percent over last season.

The increase can be traced to several attractive early
season match-ups and milestones, including Barry Bonds assault
on the all-time home run record and the first series between
bitter rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees and Red Sox closed out their much-hyped series
on Monday with a Patriots Day matinee attracting 35,027 fans to
Fenway Park.

That brought the four game series total to 140,224, the
second highest for a series at Fenway Park.