Empty PNC Park

The Pirates raise prices for walkup tickets, but it’s cool

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My eyes bulged a bit when I saw that the Pirates had raised some ticket prices. The Pirates? Really? You can’t give Pirates tickets away some days, so how do they get off raising prices? Then I read further — and read Dejan Kovacevic’s longer take on it — and realized that (a) it’s only a slight increase for same-day walkup tickets; and (b) the rest of the Pirates tickets haven’t gone up in nine years.

Nine years!  Pretty good deal, it seems to me. Of course it’s the Pirates and you get what you pay for, but it’s not so bad given that you’re guaranteed to have at least one major league team to watch on any given night at PNC Park.  At least if it’s not an interleague game against the Indians.

The story has me thinking a bit about the walkup ticket market. Kovacevic talks about it a bit in his piece. Because I’ve never lived in the same town as a major league team I think I’ve only done the walkup thing two or three times ever. On those occasions, though, I’m certain that price wouldn’t have been a big factor for me. The biggest investment was the decision to change my plans and find a parking place. Once I was at the ticket booth it was a done deal, whether the tickets were $8 or $20 bucks simply because it was an impulsive thing.

Anyone do frequent walkups? What’s the calculus? Cheap tickets? A lark that you’d do whatever the cost?  I wonder what teams could do to maximize revenue with those kinds of tickets.  I bet if they sold them really cheap in nearby bars that they’d get tons of people buying. And since they were in bars anyway, they’d be people likely to get an over-priced beer or two.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.