The Pirates raise prices for walkup tickets, but it’s cool

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My eyes bulged a bit when I saw that the Pirates had raised some ticket prices. The Pirates? Really? You can’t give Pirates tickets away some days, so how do they get off raising prices? Then I read further — and read Dejan Kovacevic’s longer take on it — and realized that (a) it’s only a slight increase for same-day walkup tickets; and (b) the rest of the Pirates tickets haven’t gone up in nine years.

Nine years!  Pretty good deal, it seems to me. Of course it’s the Pirates and you get what you pay for, but it’s not so bad given that you’re guaranteed to have at least one major league team to watch on any given night at PNC Park.  At least if it’s not an interleague game against the Indians.

The story has me thinking a bit about the walkup ticket market. Kovacevic talks about it a bit in his piece. Because I’ve never lived in the same town as a major league team I think I’ve only done the walkup thing two or three times ever. On those occasions, though, I’m certain that price wouldn’t have been a big factor for me. The biggest investment was the decision to change my plans and find a parking place. Once I was at the ticket booth it was a done deal, whether the tickets were $8 or $20 bucks simply because it was an impulsive thing.

Anyone do frequent walkups? What’s the calculus? Cheap tickets? A lark that you’d do whatever the cost?  I wonder what teams could do to maximize revenue with those kinds of tickets.  I bet if they sold them really cheap in nearby bars that they’d get tons of people buying. And since they were in bars anyway, they’d be people likely to get an over-priced beer or two.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.