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.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.