The invisible hand in action: cheap seats available for Mets games

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Wanna go to a Mets game? It’s pretty darn affordable these days, reports the New York Times.  Seats directly behind home plate with a face value of $134 are going for $69. Seats in boxes between third base and home plate are going for $28, when they normally retail for $80 to $134. If merely getting into the park is what you’re after, $3 gets the job done.

People may be inclined to mock this as a function of a bad team suffering bad times, but I see a silver lining. There are families who have been priced out of baseball in the past several years. And those that haven’t been totally priced out have at least been priced back into worse seats or way up high into the nose-bleeds.  These cheap seats, however, may be result is some people going to the ballpark who may not have otherwise gone, sitting where they might not have otherwise sat, if only on a couple of occasions.

I didn’t go to a ton of baseball games when I was a kid, but I was lucky enough to go to a handful in some pretty darn good seats.  I think being close to the action like that played a big role in my becoming a baseball fan.  Ask people who suffered through lean times in Cleveland and places like that and they’ll tell you the same thing.

While it may hurt the Mets’ bottom line in the short term, a plethora of good cheap seats may very well help create some fans who may not have otherwise been created.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.