Dynamic ticket pricing is a good thing

Leave a comment

Nelson Algren said it best: Never play cards with a man called Doc, never eat at a place called
Mom’s, never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own, and never start spewing stuff about economics when you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.  Here’s SF Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi on the Giants’ new dynamic ticket pricing:

. . . it just seems downright wrong that you should be
made to pay more for a baseball game because it’s a “great day for baseball.” It
seems exploitative that you should be made to cough up extra dollars
when Tim Lincecum is on the mound; will we be given a deep discount
when Zito is pitching or Pablo Sandoval takes a day off? Further following the airline model,
will we be charged extra for using the restroom? Do clean seats cost
more? Do I have to pay extra to stay out of the all-felon, all-drunk,
all-jerks talking loudly about work on their iPhone section?

Baseball writer/economics professor J.C. Bradbury schools him:

I’m not really all that sympathetic. People are paying a price for a
product they value at that price or higher, I’m not seeing a downside.
You used to be able to buy something you valued more for less, and now
you have to pay a higher price that is still equivalent to or less than
what you value the product. And when the product is a baseball game,
cry me a river in the name of social justice.

OK, that was the fun part, not the schooling part. For that you’ll have to click through and read why it makes perfect sense — for everyone — for teams to do the dynamic pricing thing.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

Getty Images
Leave a comment

All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉