The Pirates are raising ticket prices

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Going to a Pirates game is a bargain compared to most places and you get a great ballpark experience out of it to boot.  Part of the reason it’s such a bargain is that the Pirates haven’t raised ticket prices in nearly ten years.  That changes now, though:

The Pirates raised prices on some of their tickets for the 2012 season, the first time they have done so since 2002, the team announced Tuesday. The average price of a ticket will remain one of the lowest in baseball. Seats in the lower level will become more expensive, but the prices will fall on some upper-deck seats.

Dirty secret: the upper deck in PNC Park is one of the few upper decks in newer ballparks that are actually really great seats. In some cases better than the lower decks.  This didn’t used to be the case back in the old days because those beams everyone hated held the upper deck up closer to the field. In most newer parks, however, the upper deck is way, way back to accommodate all of the people down in the field boxes.

Anyway, supply and demand. The Pirates sold more seats this year than they had been selling. People want to go to PNC Park.  Raising prices a bit just flows from it.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.