Each year the company Team Marketing Report puts out a list of who has the highest ticket prices, lowest ticket prices, hot dogs, parking, beers, etc. It’s pretty much what you’d expect: stuff in big cities with big crowds is higher than it is here in the hinterlands. You can check it all out here.
I, of course, gravitate to the beer where, once again, the Red Sox have the highest price stuff in the game at 60 cents an ounce. Which is all but begging people to bring in flasks. Things are much more reasonable in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Texas, where beer is way down in the 28-31 cents an ounce range. I was surprised to see the that Philly is fourth cheapest given the capacity crowds and presumed demand, but I assume they’re counting on volume sales in Citizens Bank Park.
Always a fun list. Click through to see how badly you’re being gouged.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.