Report: Cubs to drop bleacher seat prices for next season

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Despite their 62-81 record the Cubs have already drawn 2.8 million fans and will surpass the 3 million mark for the eighth straight season, but Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that they plan to lower the price of bleacher seats for 2012.

Overall attendance is down just 500 fans per game, but according to Levine “the slight erosion has been most apparent in the bleachers” and “the team is concerned about a perception of half-empty bleachers on television.”

Levine reports that they’re also thinking about expanding the season ticket base, because the Cubs have a waiting list of 100,000 for 26,000 season tickets. No word yet on how much the bleacher seat prices would drop, but the Cubs have generated about $165 million in ticket revenue this year.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉