The Cubs gouge fans more than any team in baseball

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Every year Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times does a little research on ticket “convenience” fees to determine which baseball team is gouging its fans with these seemingly useless add-ons for every ticket sold.  This year’s champions of avarice: the Chicago Cubs who charge a “convenience fee” of $6.14 per ticket and an additional four bucks for “processing.”

At least if you’re buying group tickets. If you’re buying  just one the Red Sox get you the worst, but their tacked-on fee is per order, not per ticket, so that’s mitigated a bit with multiple ticket orders.

The least gouging team: the Reds, who charge a mere buck-o-three per ticket.

Chris goes on to point out the irrationality of these fees. Which go up depending on the price of your ticket. Which means that the fees have nothing to do with “processing” at all, because it should cost no more to process an expensive ticket than a cheap one.  And that’s before noting that teams also charge YOU a most inconvenient “convenience” fee for printing out a ticket on your own printer, which should make things easier for them and save them money, so why are they charging you?

Of course you’ve likely observed that already. And given that they’re charging over $5 for a bottle of water on a hot day, none of the gouging in general should surprise you either.

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.