Capacity for London Series games increased by 5,000 seats

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Back in November we learned about the seating and pricing for the London Series games between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The upshot: seats are expensive: the nosebleeds in the outfield were set at $76 a piece. Outfield bleacher seats were $153. Anything better than bleachers or a mile away on a distant, outer ring of the stadium began at nearly $300 a pop. Sitting in the premium seats behind home plate: $500. All of that before “service charges and handling fees,” which everyone knows are significant ad-ons to ticket prices.

Well, those tickets sold out. What’s more, the sellout inspired the organizers of the affair to add even more seats: 5,000 to be precise:

I have an American friend who lives in the UK who has some nosebleed tickets to the series. His seats, he says, “are on the left field foul line, at the top of the stadium. The only thing behind me is a long fall.” He paid £150 for those, which is just under $200. Given that those seats are already in the stratosphere, I can’t imagine how bad these new £30 — around $40 — seats will be.

As I wrote back in November, I fully understand that tickets for this game are in super high demand due to it being a unique event. Thus the high prices, thus the sellout and thus the addition of even more seats. The market is the market and MLB is taking its lead from the market.

But I can’t imagine the product is going to be good for anyone paying anything short of several hundred dollars per seat. While one would hope that the biggest takeaway of a newly-created British baseball fan would be how amazing Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are, the vast majority of spectators are going to have a terrible view and will get almost nothing out of the experience other than the ability to say “I was there.”

Major League Baseball can follow the market and maximize revenue from this contest or it can provide a good product that will please fans and, hopefully, spur interest and growth in baseball in the United Kingdom. It does not seem to me, however, that it can do both. They have apparently chosen which path to take.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.