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Home run: Spring training 2017 sets another Cactus League attendance record

Chicago Cubs' Munenori Kawasaki, of Japan, signs autographs for fans prior to the team's spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. The game ended in a 5-5 tie. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The 2017 spring training season in the Arizona Cactus League was one for the attendance record books, it was announced Thursday.

In a press release, the 15-team league said a record 1,941,347 fans passed through turnstiles between Feb. 24 and April 1.

“We’re grateful for the Major League Baseball fans who flocked to ballparks across Maricopa County this spring,” Cactus League President Jeff Meyer said in a release.

The World Series-winning Chicago Cubs were the league’s strongest draw for the fourth straight spring training. More than 250,000 people attended the team’s 17 home matchups at Sloan Park in Mesa, an average of 14,818 fans per game.

Sloan Park has a 15,000-fan capacity.

Five other teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, set single-game attendance records.

The biggest jump in attendance was recorded at the Goodyear home of the World Series runner-up Cleveland Indians. The team averaged 6,345 fans per game this year, compared to 5,442 fans per game in 2016.

The league said the Arizona spring weather played a big part in the attendance record. The league reported no rainouts during the 2017 season, but did play on nine straight days with temperatures in the 90s.

The attendance figures include 11 games played between World Baseball Classic and Cactus League teams, in addition to two games played between the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds in Las Vegas.

The numbers did not include games played between spring training and collegiate teams.

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