Major League Baseball is letting you pay them $10-20 — right now — for the right to buy playoff tickets for your team at face value. Beat the scalpers! Beat StubHub! What a deal!
And I guess if you’re a Yankees fan or something it may be a good deal. For one thing the Yankees are likely to make the playoffs. For another thing it’s not likely that a ton of tickets will be available at face value. A $10-20 markup (depending on which series it is) is less than you’ll get gouged on the secondary market if you’re so inclined. Unless you’re the sort who camps out on line for tickets, this probably makes sense.
But the Yankees are kind of the exception, are they not? Some playoff teams will go down to the wire simply to sell out a division series game. Happens every year. Even those who do sell out don’t do so immediately. If you wait a bit for, say, the Rangers to clinch and then act relatively quickly after they do, you’ll almost certainly be able to get face value seats without having to pay Bud Selig his vigorish.
But maybe the best part of this is the fact that MLB is opening up this fantastic opportunity for every single team. Really: check out the order page. You can, with a couple of clicks, pay Major League Baseball as much as $90* for tickets to see the Pirates in the Division Series, NLCS and World Series! Or the Orioles! Or the Astros!
I’m going to put a little reminder on my calendar, but to make sure I don’t forget, someone remind in September to ask Major League Baseball how much money they made on these playoff ticket licenses for crappy teams. I bet the number won’t be staggering, but I bet it won’t be zero either.
*The breakdown: $10 for each ticket for the Division Series, $15 for the League Championship Series and
$20 for the World Series with a maximum purchase of two tickets per series per household. So it would cost $90 now
if you wanted to reserve two tickets for one game of all three possible
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.