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The Mets slash ticket prices

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Mets attendance went way down in 2010, and the team has reacted: they’ve lowered ticket prices.  Season tickets are a flat 10% off. Given how many categories of tickets any given ballpark has it’s complicated beyond that — big cuts for some categories of seats, slight increases for others — but the team says that prices are going down 14% on average.

This is all Byzantine stuff to me — I don’t know the difference between a “Promenade Reserve,” a “Promenade Reserve Infield” and a “Promenade Reserve Infield Select Extra Crispy” —  but you have to applaud the Mets for understanding that, if you want to get more butts in the seats for a team that isn’t all that hot, you have to lower the prices.

I think the most interesting thing about this is that Dave Howard, the Mets’ Executive Vice President for Business Operations, held a conference call exclusively for Mets bloggers yesterday to answer questions and address concerns about the price changes. You can read a writeup of this by Caryn Rose (a/k/a Metsgrrl) here.  That’s smart outreach to go beyond merely answering questions of the newspapers.  After all: the newspaper guys will report your press release pretty straight up. Bloggers are often season ticket holders too, however, and if they think they’re getting played, they’ll not hesitate to go after you. Transparency is essential when it comes to this sort of thing.

Oh, Caryn also has a list of the perks that season ticket holders who renew early will get (it’s at the end of her post of the Howard call).  Not a bad list. I’d totally love to bring out the lineup card to the umpires one day. If a Mets season ticket holder was doing this last Opening Day you can bet that they would have changed it so Mike Jacobs wouldn’t be batting cleanup.

 

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.