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.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.