You have lots of choices at Target Field

Leave a comment

Gonna buy tickets to the Twins’ new ballpark? Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan:

The old Metrodome may have had questionable sightlines, but at least
the ticket pricing was simple. The new Target Field, meanwhile, has 120
single-game ticket variations–more than five times what was available
in the old park. The Twins aren’t alone–the New York Mets and Florida
Marlins both offer more than 100 choices.

The choices come from the facts that rather than be limited to the bleachers vs. the box seats, you can now choose to sit in the Gold Bond Medicated Powder Loge, the Planters Corn Nuts Reserved Boxes, or any other number of sponsored (or not) sub-sections in a given ballpark. And the prices of those seats can be one thing on a Wednesday night and something altogether different on Saturday. And of course, if the Yankees are in town you can expect to pay more than you would if the Royals are visiting.  With X number of potential seats times Y number of days of the week times Z number of opponents, and I’m not at all surprised that there are 120 different variations.

But it makes a lot of sense.  Some tickets are hotter than others. The way the prices and the options vary on the secondary market reflect this. Sure, it may be potentially-aggravating to try and find the cheapest possible seats, but as long as teams aren’t being deceptive in their pricing practices, I have no problem with them creating dozens if not scores of pricing tiers based on how great or how little demand there is for given seat at a given game.  To do otherwise would be to throw money away.

But yes, it does seem kind of silly at first blush. Indeed, when I read the article I was instantly I’m reminded of this old gem.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
2 Comments

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.