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.

Padres clinch NL wild-card spot during 2-1 loss to White Sox

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres are going back to the playoffs for the first time in a full season since 2006, a spot that they clinched during the seventh inning of a 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

The Padres were batting when the Miami Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers in 12 innings. The sellout crowd of 41,407 at Petco Park stood and cheered the sealed wild-card spot.

The Padres trailed 2-0 at the time but Kim Ha-seong homered a few minutes later.

The Padres had a chance to win in the ninth when they put two runners on with two outs against Liam Hendriks but pinch-hitter Jorge Alfaro, who has five walk-off plate appearances this year, grounded out.

Fireworks went off and the Padres players were given hats and shirts, but there was no wild on-field celebration. Manager Bob Melvin was drenched with a cooler of water and the players gathered near the mound for photos. They were cheered by what was left of the crowd as they headed to the clubhouse.

San Diego is one game ahead of Philadelphia for the second of three NL wild cards.

The Padres won a wild-card series against St. Louis after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before being swept in the division series by the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Before that, they hadn’t been to the playoffs since winning the NL West in 2005 and 2006.

It’s the seventh playoff berth in franchise history and the fourth since Petco Park opened in 2004. The Padres haven’t been to the World Series since 1998, when they were swept by the New York Yankees.

The Padres reached the playoffs this year without electrifying shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who was on the cusp of returning from a broken left wrist when he was suspended for 80 games by MLB on Aug. 12 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Slugger Manny Machado has carried the Padres most of the season offensively and they added Juan Soto from Washington in a blockbuster deal on Aug. 2.

The Padres hired the veteran Melvin after last year’s brutal September collapse cost Jayce Tingler his job.

Lance Lynn (8-7) and Blake Snell 8-10) were locked in a scoreless duel Sunday when Elvis Andrus homered off the San Diego lefty with one out in the sixth, his 16th. His shot reached the top balcony of the brick warehouse in the left field corner at Petco Park.

The White Sox went ahead 2-0 on Adam Engel‘s two-out single in the seventh that brought in Andrew Vaughn, who had drawn a leadoff walk.

San Diego got on the scoreboard when Kim homered to left off Lynn with two outs in the seventh, his 11th.

Lynn allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.

Snell allowed one run and three hits in six innings, struck out six and walked one.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Bailey Ober (2-3, 3.18 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday at home against the Minnesota Twins, who will counter with Johnny Cueto (7-10, 3.39).

Padres: RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7, 3.03) gets the start Monday night at home against the San Francisco Giants, who will go with Carlos Rodon (14-8, 2.88).