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.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.