The extra playoff spot in Major League Baseball this season has thickened the races, with several teams still within October's reach despite bringing mediocre records into the stretch run.
That's making an impact in the seats. MLB-wide attendance is up again, 4 percent from 2011.
Team executives and business analysts point to a number of other reasons for the jump. In Pittsburgh, for example, there's interest in the Pirates simply because they're good again. They've announced 13 sellouts at PNC Park, and the Pirates are in line to make the playoffs.
The weather has also been warmer and drier in the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard states, where unfriendly weather helped keep crowds smaller in the spring of 2011.