By Chris Cue
April 3, 2009
A day after Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino announced that the Red Sox could remain in Fenway for the next 50 years, comes the news that the average ticket to Fenway is no longer MLB’s most expensive one to buy. For the past 13 years Red Sox fans have paid the most on average to support their team, but no longer. While the picking of a Sox fans pocket still goes on, at least fans of the Olde Town Team can claim they aren’t getting fleeced the most anymore. That distinction now belongs to the New York Yankees.
It should come as no surprise that the Yankees are now the team that costs the average fan the most to go see. A brand new stadium can do that to ticket prices. You really didn’t really think the Yankees were going to pay for that stadium all on their own did you? Or did you?
The Team Marketing Report which was released yesterday, shows that the Yankees have passed the cost of their new stadium onto their fans with an alarming increase in ticket prices. For instance, the average ticket for a Yankees game in 2008 was $41.40. This year, in the new stadium, that price has increased an amazing 76.3% to an average ticket price of $72.87. That’s a huge jump, due largely from selected area’s that even Hal Steinbrenner said were “overpriced”. Forget the economy for a second and focus on this little ditty just for a moment. The Yankees set the prices for their “Legends Suites” over 13 months ago. They were priced between $500 to $2,500.00 a seat as part of season ticket sales. That’s one seat for a single regular season game. Perhaps they were hoping AIG wouldn’t go under and those tickets would be an easy sell to people that don’t value a dollar. Then again, maybe they just over valued their product a bit…..
Think about it. $500 – $2,500.00 for a single ticket to one ballgame?? That’s crazy!
Let’s put this into some sort of perspective. Did you know that Joe DiMaggio was paid a total of $8,500.00 for his entire rookie year? Look, inflation is one thing, but when you stop and think that the price of 4 seats to one game today exceeds what Mr. Coffee made in an entire season, something is getting a little out of hand don’t ya think?
Well surprise! Some of those $2,500.00 seats are still available to purchase, but the poor slob who wants to buy them will have to shell out $2,625.00 to get them because the price goes up if they are not part of a season ticket package. Understand, this isn’t a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Red Sox are by no means a bargain to go see either. However, Sox fans will not be seeing a 76% increase in ticket prices. The Red Sox essentially froze ticket prices from last season showing only a 0.3% increase. Still, the Red Sox are the 2nd highest MLB ticket to purchase with an average cost of $50.24. As the old saying goes, “That ain’t chump change”, but at least you won’t get a nose bleed from the seat that costs you that much. I’m not sure the same can be said of the seating location you’ll get for the average price in Yankee stadium this season.
In the interest of struggling families during this economic downturn, acknowledgment of the most affordable ticket price is in order. Unfortunately, you’ll need to add the price of airfare to it unless you live within driving distance of the ball park. The lowest average ticket price belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks which has an average cost of only $14.31. Imagine that. A family of four can watch a professional baseball team play for $57.24. You might even be able to buy a beer, get a Hot Dog and still walk away with change from your Ben Franklin. That should make you feel better right?
Yeah, maybe not so much.
By all means, if you head out to the ballpark this season, enjoy the game! Chances are you paid dearly for it.
By Chris Cue
January 14, 2009
At this point in the off season when most teams have settled their number 1 through 3 starting pitcher positions, many teams may now be looking for that innings eater. The 4th starter. The guy who still has potential to be better then league average, but comes with fewer guarantees.
For Red Sox fans, these questions have been answered with either Wakefield, Penny or Smoltz filling that role, so it’s only natural that we would turn our attention to the team a hundred or so miles to the southwest. Yes, every Sox fan always keeps her or his eye on what the “Empire” is doing and right now, they have more unresolved business in this area then the Red Sox do. So, let’s take a look at where they are and what they may do.
By the way, have you ever noticed how annoyed some Yankee fans get when Red Sox fans stick their nose into the business of their team? It gets even more funny when Sox fans tell Yankee fans what they should do. They seriously get down right resentful about it. It’s as if they are a little put off knowing that we are educated enough about their team to make intelligent analysis of their current situation. That makes this exercise even more enjoyable don’t ya think? Well, it does for me anyway :-).
The Yankees need a 4th starter and there remains a lot of guess work on which direction they will take. As an outsider looking in, what seems clear to me, has members of the pinstriped brigade pretty divided on the issue. In my honest opinion, the Yankees best option remains one that up until now, they seem unwilling to pay for. I know, imagine that right? So who is that “best option”? In my humble opinion it’s Andy Pettitte.
Andy, as I’m sure you know, had a 10 million dollar offer on the table from the Yankees that his agents turned their nose up at due to the 6 million dollar pay cut the Yankees were asking him to take. Adding to the dilemma is the fact that the Yankees offered Andy a 2
year, 32 million dollar deal last off season. He turned it down at the time because he wasn’t sure he wanted to pitch beyond 2008. As it turns
out, he should have taken it. But that may explain why he and his agents balked at a 10 million offer this year. Afterall, if the Yankees saw the value last year in paying him 16 million for this season, then what’s changed? It’s an understandable position to take I suppose and it would make you think that the 10 million dollar offer smacked of getting low-balled. The Yankees are clearly playing some hard ball here and perhaps, rightfully so.
In case you were unaware, that 10 million dollar offer to Andy has now officially been taken off the table. Apparently, the Yankees warned Pettitte’s agents that if they reached a certain team salary level that they would remove the offer. After signing Mark Teixeira, that salary level was seemingly met and Pettitte’s offer was indeed taken off the table. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Yankees will not renew negotiations. It simply means that for now, they are willing to let Andy twist in the wind and hope he warms up to the idea (and fact) that he’s no longer a 16 million dollar a year pitcher. However, I seriously doubt that the Yankees have run out of money and now find themselves unable to sign Andy Pettitte to a one year 10 million dollar deal. Andy Pettitte is exactly what the Yankees need at this point in time and his agents know this. What isn’t known is if the Yankees are willing to find those innings somewhere else. There are afterall, other options available to them for less then the amount offered to Pettitte.
So the question is: If not Andy Pettitte, then who? The trade market remains a possibility but it’s almost impossible to speculate on. The Yankees have some pieces to move (Nady, Swisher or some prospects), but the return for them alone being a starting pitcher is very slim. The Yankees could look in house and once again decide that Phil Hughes or a platoon of rookie pitchers could fill that need. However, after spending the kind of money they did this off season on pitching, it’s hard to believe they would take that chance again knowing that Joba Chamberlain is already in the rotation.
Taking a look at what remains available on the free agent market courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contract’s (link HERE), a few names remain that might fit the bill. Names like John Garland, Paul Byrd and even Oliver Perez all seem to be capable of eating 180 – 200 innings this year. The biggest question is what are the odds that any of those guys could be a .500 pitcher for the Yankees while throwing those innings? At best, I think you could say they might be able to do it. At worst, you could look at them and say the don’t have a chance in H-E-Double toothpicks. So what do the Yankees do here? Do they take a chance on a low cost guy that might bring high rewards? Someone like Ben Sheets, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez or even (Hee Hee) Bartolo Colon? I very seriously doubt it. No, if the Yankees don’t pull the trigger on a trade, Andy Pettitte and what he brings to the table has got to be the best option they have. If you have a better idea, I’m willing to hear it. For now, if the Yankees go the free agent route to fill that 4th spot, my money is on Pettitte returning and doing so at or above that 10 million dollar price tag. It is however, money I hope to lose because I don’t personally see a better option.