Dynamic ticket pricing is a good thing

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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.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.