White Sox dropping ticket prices for 2013 following research

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Few people picked the White Sox to be competitive this season, let alone fight for the AL Central title with the Tigers deep into September, yet despite dramatically outperforming preseason expectations with 85 wins they failed to top two million in attendance for the first time since 2004.

And now they’re lowering ticket prices for next season. By quite a bit, too.

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that 54 percent of the seats at U.S. Cellular Field will be cheaper in 2013 and they’ll drop in price by an average of 26 percent, along with a decrease in the cost to park around the ballpark.

Gonzales writes that the White Sox “commissioned a comprehensive research project” to better understand fan sentiment surrounding ticket prices and other factors in the current economic climate.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.