You have lots of choices at Target Field

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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.

Replay review over base-keeping needs to go

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The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.

Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.

Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.

Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.