In an attempt to cut down on ticket scalping at Wrigley Field the Cubs have declined to renew around 1,000 season tickets belonging to 40 alleged scalpers.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune the Cubs “worked with outside sources” to identify the season ticket holders who were scalping in bulk and “sent them letters Wednesday telling them their accounts have been revoked.”
Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago reports that many of the canceled accounts belonged to out-of-state residents identified as professional ticket sellers and “other big-market teams are plotting similar plans to oust scalpers from their season-ticket rolls.”
The waiting list for Cubs season tickets is 115,000 strong, so they’ll have no problem finding takers and Cubs vice president Julian Green stressed that “this is about getting as many season tickets in the hands of fans that are interested in and intend to enjoy Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field.”
Normally this is where I’d make some snide remark about how tough it is to enjoy a team that’s lost 101, 91, and 87 games during the past three seasons, but I actually think what the Cubs are doing here sounds like a good thing.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.