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dodgers sign all the playersThe Super Bowl is here, which means the rest of the sports world grinds to something of a halt today, which is probably fair. I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but (1) Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan know what’s up, and (2) has anyone ever made a Super Bowel pun about the game? I don’t know what that pun would be, but I’m pretty sure I’m afraid to Google the words “super bowel.” Maybe, like, if one of the players was battling an intestinal issue, but still managed to come out for the second half and help win the game a la Michael Jordan and the flu? “Seahawks Take Super Bowl Thanks to Super Bowel”? Maybe that?

Also, a moment to keep the lights on: looking for a little gaming fun? Check out Excellent Slots. I doubt they could call themselves excellent if they were not. And on with the Bullets …

  • As we look ahead to the future of the Chicago Cubs – a future most of us believe is bright (eventually) and competitive – it’s worth noting a recent move by the Dodgers. Since becoming very, very good last year after spending like Monty Brewster, the Dodgers are wildly popular once again in Los Angeles, and, understandably, their tickets are much more desirable. So, what happens? Ticket prices increase – twice in a single year, in the Dodgers’ case. After season ticket holders renewed at a staggering rate, the Dodgers had very few available additional season ticket packages to offer, so they jacked the prices – 140%(!!!) in some cases. Presumably, single game tickets will also be shoved aggressively upward. I certainly understand fan disappointment when going to games becomes exorbitantly expensive (there are still some reasonably priced tickets, by the way), but I also understand the cruel reality of supply and demand. And, in their defense, the Dodgers are spending a crap-ton of money on payroll to put a compelling team on the field.
  • Which is all to say: yes, when the Cubs are winning again, you can expect that ticket prices will go up (because demand will go up). The Cubs have already previewed this reality with dynamic pricing, and the fact that prices have held steady despite five disappointing seasons only underscores it further. I know it’s easy to get all populist and rip the Cubs for expensive prices and a crappy product, but, I mean … why would they charge less than the market will bear? And if they thought charging less would sell more tickets and generate more revenue, they’d do it. More revenue = more money for baseball operations = incrementally increased chance of being competitive consistently.
  • I just have trouble getting too upset about any of the ticket price stuff. Am I wrong? I guess, the flip side from the pure market theory, is the idea that baseball – as a whole – has an interest in continuing to cultivate new, and long-lasting relationships with fans. Extreme prices, regardless of demand, probably don’t help that interest. That could be even more true with a team like the Cubs, where the passion of the fan base has an intimate relationship with the ballpark. Maybe the Cubs would be better served, in the long-run, keep prices artificially low, even if it depresses revenue slightly, because of the long-term benefit of making/retaining more fans? I’m sure this has all been considered by business folks much more adept at pricing curves and revenue projections and customer acquisition/retention rates and what-have-you.
  • Do you really want to believe in Babe Ruth’s “called shot” against the Cubs in the 1932 World Series? If so, don’t bother reading this New York Post piece, which indicates it never happened. (But, even in the “real” account, Ruth was giving some guff back to the Cubs immediately before the pitch (and the hand signal was just him pointing at the pitcher and/or Cubs dugout), saying something about how he was going to knock them all out. He then took the next pitch 500 feet out to center field. That’s still a pretty damn good story, isn’t it?)
  • Looks like ZiPS really likes the Texas Rangers, and I’m reminded of what it will feel like when this is the kind of team the Cubs have on paper going into a season.
  • TommyK

    The problem with charging less than market value for tickets is that the people who buy them from you turn around and sell them for market value. Based on stubhub prices last year and my expectation that this could be a 100 loss team, I think the Cubs may be over shooting market value significantly. I expect pleanty of tickets available.

    • brainiac

      yeah, not this year. :)

      supply and demand will lower ticket prices significantly. it’s going to be a good year to get a $5 ticket to watch the cardinals or dodgers play in chicago.

  • Steve

    Oh my….I searched Excellent slots and my search somehow rendered excellent sluts.
    A little much for Sunday morning.
    I will re visit at a later date, however …..

  • college_of_coaches

    Random question, but I’ve been re-watching Battlestar Galactica – Has anyone else noticed how much Lt. Felix Gaeta looks like Darwin Barney?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. I’m watching it for the first time right now, and YES!

    • drew

      Hah I’m just watching for the first time as well and couldn’t agree more. It’s uncanny. I had to Google image a pic of Darwin to show my wife how similar they look.

  • http://www.ehanauer.com clark addison

    Today is Hyper Bole avoidance day. The wife and I will drive the Porsche up back country twisties to Julian for some of their apple pie.

  • When The Musics Over

    If the Cubs are going to jack up ticket prices immediately upon being good, if the payroll remains in a depressed state, people won’t be happy. The Dodgers have a cause and effect relationship in play, which goes hand in hand with supply and demand. The Cubs had the same relationship in play circa 2008.

    • When The Musics Over

      Sorry, not hand in hand. Wrong way to state that point. What I mean is a good chunk of the fan base won’t be cool with Yankee ticket prices at Reds payroll levels. The hand in hand is that people expect/hope to pay prices that to a certain degree don’t suggest the team is abusing the supply and demand relationship. Maintaining fan goodwill, or at least the perception of it, is always important.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        Well first and for most, I’ll be excited when the Cubs are good. I don’t care if i go to a lot of games or not. For the second point, the Cubs already have the 3rd highest ticket price and will sport a bottom 1/3 payroll. And there aren’t exactly pitchforks out.

        • DrReiCow

          No, there are empty seats.

          Moo.

  • Greenroom

    Monty Brewster reference ftw. Well played, Brett.

  • brainiac

    slightly off topic, but for the hendry haters, lest not forget what a whiz he was at getting good trades. the garciaparra looked great on paper too, until he got injured. so far in 3 offseasons jed has saved some money for ownership and…….that’s about it.

    http://www.sportyinsider.com/5-worst-trades-in-mlb-history

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The Marshall – Wood trade comes to mind as an inarguably good one.

      And I think we can put the Garza to Texas deal there as well. Even if none of the prospects pan out, the Cubs got an absolute haul (at current value) for three months of Garza that did Texas no good whatsoever.

      Rizzo leads Cashner in cumulative bWAR 4.9 to 2.3 since that trade. I’d say that’s a solid case for labeling that deal a pretty good one as well.

      That’s a lot more than just saving some money for ownership.

      • brainiac

        do i really have to point out that garza just signed for under contract value with our rivals? i see trading him as a lose/lose scenario. say what you will, but a good #3 pitcher (which is what he is) is ABSOLUTELY worth 4/52 in this market. that’s almost a steal, really. instead we got some minor leaguers that we’ll probably never use on the mlb level.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Do I really have to point out the only reason he got that contract was because of his “elbow concerns”? Nobody wanted to give him a multi-year deal.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            …and to pile on, do I really have to point out that the Cubs got a haul for Garza and could STILL sign him if they thought we was worth the money. I would have been happy if the Cubs got Garza for the contract Milwaukee gave him (assuming his medicals weren’t looking too ominous), but it is too simplistic to lable it a lose/lose scenario.

            It seems that you (braniac), by that logic, think the Cubs should just pay whatever it takes to keep players from signing with a rival, which would clearly lead to continued failure for the Cubs.

            • brainiac

              yes but these are red herrings. the truth is the cubs did not resign him, haven’t signed any pitcher of note, and continuously come up empty. “well we coulda got him” doesn’t really make a lot of sense. it’s like saying “we didn’t want him so we win, in a way…when we’ll certainly lose”.

              • BT

                No, THAT is a red herring. The Cubs’ policy of signing free agent pitchers has nothing to do with whether or not the Garza trade was a productive one for the Cubs.

        • Abe Froman

          @brainiac, he has legit elbow concerns that drove the market down. Not trading Garza would result in the loss of arguably the Cubs best pitching prospect and the others. You said the Cubs ” probably never use (prospects from Garza trade) on the mlb level” – Olt and Grimm alone are likely to see MLB time this year.

          Not sure I’ve heard the Brewers called the Cubs rivals before, regardless your point is taken that its a signing within the division. However, the Brewers have one of the worst farms in baseball and lack a lot of financial flexibility, they do not scare me as being a threat to the Cubs in 2015 and beyond as they move towards a competitive team.

          I realize someone that calls the Garza trade a lose/lose scenario and fails to see any positive value in it is likely to not come around with some of these facts. Sometimes though your brain gets kicked in the nuts and one is compelled to do some unkicking.

          • brainiac

            no doubt the brewers are not an old rivalry like the cards. but you guys are literally drowning in excuses for why the cubs *should* be bad. pointing out exceptions is what kids do to explain to their parents why they got a D on a test. you guys are all D baseball students.

            • Abe Froman

              I’m not literally drowning, if I was I surely would not be breathing or typing.

              I’m probably a C baseball student but still can see beyond this off season and the future is bright. You would have more credibility if you gave an inch now and again.

            • jerrjh

              brainiac-”instead we got some minor leaguers that we’ll probably never use on the mlb level.” Really? Edwards has escalated rapidly to being a highly touted prospect and Olt is just one year removed from a stellar season. Plus Grimm has already been up to the Show, though somewhat prematurely. He could be a strong #5 or a really good bullpen piece. Ramirez was once up there with Perez as a top pitching prospect with the Rangers. He is least likely to make it to the Show, but again if he can overcome injuries, he will pitch well in the major leagues. Listen, the Jon Daniels wanted Garza really bad, so much they gave up some really good pieces for him, yet Garza floundered so bad with them, the Rangers did not pursue him after the season. The Brewers are desperate given their abysmal farm system, and so they took a chance on someone who likely will be out of baseball in two years. Speculation on my part? Yup, but given his injury history, not far fetched at all. Certainly less speculative than your rhetoric.

    • Jon

      I know when Aramis was young he was bit of an enigma and under achiever it Pitt, but what in the hell possessed the Marlins to trade Derrek Lee?

      Hendry did “kill it” in some trades, that’s for sure

      • ssckelley

        Because DLee was starting to get expensive for the Marlins and they thought they were getting the next big star in Choi.

        Hendry made some good moves back then.

        • Jon

          And as much as folks cry a foul about the Garza trade, it’s not brought up enough that to begin with , Archer was acquired for a Derosa rental

          • BT

            Good point

    • Jon

      I’m also curios how the Miguel Cabera trade doesn’t make that list? None of those prospects Detroit gave up have done crap, and odds are they never will

  • ame1908

    Did anyone else notice that Yu Darvish was comped to Kerry Wood? Interesting…

  • DrReiCow

    Ticket prices to me are almost irrelevant, because by the time I know when I can go to a game, the tickets have all been purchased by scalpers and I am stuck paying whatever they charge. (I greatly despise large scale scalping as an industry – it often deprives people of the chance to see something they want to see due to perversely inflated ticket prices.)

    One thing I think most MLB stadiums need to keep are a section of really cheap, walk-up/same day only seats. As a kid, I remember walking up to the ballpark after school and getting a $5 ticket (in some terrible location) and watching a game. This gives MLB a nice avenue to target kids, because there is no other sport you can go see for a really cheap price, let alone in the afternoon.

    Moo.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Previously I advocated free admission as is done with TV game show audiences which basically all that attendees are now that TV execs dictate the way game is shown – I still believe this is best way to treat fans and assure less empty seats

  • Spoda17

    No matter how well this rebuild goes, or how bad it is perceived by the fans… and no matter how “upset” we get with the FO/Ownership… when the Cubs start winning, they will sellout just like they used to. Those that refuse to go because they disagree with this process will be replaced by those who don’t care, and just care about the winning.

    Brett, I’m starting to feel like every time I read an article, I’m watching the Truman Show… “Truman, speaking of the lawn, I think I am going to go mow the lawn with my brand new, 2.5 horse-power, mulching mower I picked up at Menards; it’s red, and I can even make payments…” gratuitous add insertion… ha! Gotta pay da bills bratha, I’m wijja.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Even in a densely promotional week, it’s more like one in 10 posts, but I hear you. I’ll work on the balance.

      But you should buy that lawnmower. It’s the bomb diggity.

      • hansman

        This one did seem weird but I think it was because of the Amazon rollout. A lot of folks talking about it made it much bigger than a usual promotion.

  • itzscott

    Looking at the bigger picture if this keeps up, major league baseball will become a rich man’s sport relegating the rest of us schmoe’s to support minor league affiliates if we wish to take ourselves or our families out to the old ballgame….. Much like many of us are doing now with the Cubs absent the economic considerations.

    Since we won’t be able to afford actually attending a game, owners will still want to tap into our demographic and you’ll likely watch games on TV via dedicated cable channels for a fee…. Much like Extra Innings. With the spillover of fans that have been priced out of the market, viewership will skyrocket from the current, attracting more and more sponsors who will pay more and more for ad spots.

    All in all owners will have the best of all worlds…. Actual atendees paying top dollar for tickets, a huge TV market and sponsors who will pay big bucks to tap into all those eyeballs.

    Bottom line… The money will keep pouring in and salaries will continue to escalate.

    • Diehardthefirst

      What do you mean “become” ?

  • Jon

    Oh and a heads up, caution clicking that Rangers fan graphs link, specially avoid looking at Roughen Odors comp….

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I laughed.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Bonifacio is available- good influence

  • TulaneCubs

    So the timing of those increases and who faces them is a little unclear. Am I reading correctly that they increased the price on existing season ticket holders an unspecified amount and then they increased the price on new season ticket holders an additional amount, which results in the high increases stated in the article?

    Wonder how much the season ticket prices were raised on existing season ticket holders. While I generally agree that the price should follow the demand, raising prices this much in one go can really alienate your fanbase. I’d think most teams would go for a two or three step approach, targeting a large increase like this to be done over 2 or 3 years. That way, you’re at least somewhat easing into the higher prices.

  • Internet Random
  • cubfanincardinalland

    The Dodgers average ticket price last season was less than half of the average ticket price for a Cubs game. The Dodgers kind of put a dart in the argument that high player salaries mean high ticket prices for fans.

  • Cubbie Tim

    Maybe the Cubs can sign Tracy McGrady. I’ve read where he’s trying to pitch. Baba Booey

  • Funn Dave

    In other words, how will the Cubs reward our loyalty for sticking with them through these rough years? By making us pay more!

    I know, I know, it’s how things work. Doesn’t mean I can’t be bitter about it.

    • brainiac

      hah, check and mate. that’s totally how things work. i’m actually not against it, if they’re actually winning, or at least trying to win. that latter point is really the subject of all of my posts. the purposefully losing as a strategy for winning thing, i just find to be disingenuous.

      • Funn Dave

        Yes and yes.

  • TSB

    In many ways, Dodger Stadium is the California equivalent of Wrigley Field; old by California standards, hard to get to by many due to the 20-hour-per-day gridlock on the 110 freeway, and astronomical ticket prices plus there is an at least perceived “gang-banger” image. So you would think the logical thing for them would be to move to a nice suburban stadium, like the one in Anaheim where the Angels play. But yet the Dodgers constantly draw large crowds, while the Angels can only muster larger crowds when they are winning, which often times they are not. So the idea that if the Cubs would just move to a nice suburban Rosemont stadium and they would be guaranteed giant attendance is not true. The Dodgers draw by fielding a winning team, and at those times they don’t, they can encourage attendance just as the Cubs do at Wrigley, by marketing tradition. In the case of Dodger stadium, i.e., where Koufax played, Dodger dogs, a beautiful (sic) park, etc. A suburban Cubs team, which historically will lose more seasons than not would no longer have this advantage. Until the time they are a constant winner, there will be as many empty seats if not more than they currently have at the friendly confines.

  • drew

    The newest episode of Bob’s burgers addresses the “Super Bowel”. Hilarity ensues.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5K6LLwxDs4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    • Funn Dave

      That was great. I’m glad they kept it running for that last joke, too.

      • drew

        Hah For sure, really funny episode.

  • No Longer JR

    The issue I have with the ticket pricing is that,like a lot of other developments over the last couple years, it has come to feel disingenuous given Ricketts initial comments about how much his family cared about the fans and that running the Cubs was some sort of sacred trust or something along those lines. I gave him the benefit of the doubt on this and I kind of feel that I, and Cubs fans generally, have been played.

    Past ownership groups also ruthlessly raised ticket prices and whatever – it is what it is, pay the prices or don’t go, I have no general problem with that. But those ownership groups weren’t making a show of themselves on the PR front implying that they are somehow different, more devoted to the team than just maximizing their personal profits or the value of their investment. I entirely expect that the Ricketts ownership will jack up prices when (if) the Cubs become competitive and also take steps to create barriers to fans selling tickets on the open market in any way that doesn’t include the Cubs taking a cut on any upcharge. Can they do this? Sure. But I find it a bit odd to talk about ruthless capitalism as though it is an inevitability rather than a choice. And hypocritical not to own up to it – cultivating the image of a fan’s fan – while slinging mud on the rooftop owners for their own aggressive pursuit of their business interests.

    I look forward to reading Brett’s piece on the financial restrictions that supposedly are crippling the Cubs ability to spend money (though the front office and the business people have denied this). I hope to learn more about what’s going on with the finances after reading Brett’s forthcoming article. Some allegations I find troubling, if true, and am interested to learn more about, are whether the Cubs were in the top 10 in generating revenue this past season, and what happened to that money, and whether the value of the franchise has actually gone up since Ricketts bought the club. I am also interested in the financial restrictions, though I do not see how that actually harms the Ricketts in any way since they basically were spared from having to put down their own money and then have used the Cubs revenues to pay down the debt (meaning they still aren’t using their own money). I’d sure have liked someone to tell me that I didn’t have to come up with the down payment on my home after all – and I could use the rents to pay down the mortgage without ever having to pay out a dime of my own money. I really don’t understand how this works, though, so maybe I’m wrong about this. I’m also interested about whether the loans were funded by banks or by other Ricketts entities, in which case the Ricketts would be pocketing the interest on the loans they made to themselves to buy the Cubs and then using the Cubs revenue stream (including the disproportionately high ticket prices given the product on the field) to pay themselves back instead of putting toward true baseball operations. Is it really true that the Dodgers ticket prices were half the price of Cubs tickets this past year? Wow.

    In terms of the $300 million renovation that the Ricketts are funding, I really find it hard to feel sorry for a billionaire having to pay to develop his own property, which is primarily being done to create new revenue streams to pay back that $300 million and create future profit streams. The whining about this strikes me as odd. As a homeowner, that’s what I have to do. And I also have to follow zoning laws and municipal ordinances. I am baffled by the suggestion that if they are spending their own money (read: unable to cuckold the city and state the way Jerry Reinsdorf did) that they should not have to follow the same laws that apply to the rest of us. It’s certainly true that if you have a lot of money and power (generating a lot of taxes for the city in the Cubs case) that you’ll get excused from following the rules. But to state it so publicly, like it was an entitlement, was a bit distasteful, especially to the lot of us who are required to play by those same rules. In the end, of course, the city pushed through their agenda, and even ceded public land so that they could expand the stadium.

    That Ricketts has now refused to spend a dollar of his own money even to upgrade player facilities or do any number of things related to the renovation is not surprising to me. But I find it all disturbing in light of all his claims to care about the fans. And the lack of even a .500 quality team on the field is perpetually disappointing.

    • Funn Dave

      It does seem hypocritical in that light. How can the Ricketts expect people to be patient & wait for renovations before we spend more money if they won’t spend their own money now on renovations in pursuit of those long-term financial and competitive goals?

  • N.J. Riv

    Anyone else hoping Cubs can snag Bonifacio? He can probably replace Barney at 2nd.

  • cubzfan

    OK, I’ll be “that guy.” What does the headline mean?

    I could understand “The Dodgers demonstrate a ticket price reality” or “The Dodgers demonstration of a ticket price reality” or “The Dodgers are demonstrating…” etc. Help me, Obi-Brett, you’re my only hope!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      D’oh.

  • Diehardthefirst

    I posted this morning that Cubs should grab him- you must’ve overslept

  • Cubbie Tim

    Brett, what’s your go to Super Bowl beer & food? You must’ve started early today. Only one article. It’s all good. I still check in like every 30 minutes. Keep up the great work. I don’t really care about the super bowl but I’m going for the Seahawks being that Russell was a drafted baseball player.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    One article is pretty typical for weekends in the off season.

    • Cubbie Tim

      Oh I understand completely. Was just kidding by saying maybe he started drinking a little early. I know I have :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Heh. Yeah – plus folks (outside of swell folks like you) are unlikely to be reading today.

      And it’s Sam Adams and Mexican food for me.

      • 1ski

        Mmmm Sam Adams cherry wheat….

        • hansman

          Noo. Gotta go with sam adams hazel brown.

      • mjhurdle

        gotta go with Tecate if you are having Mexican.

        Newcastle Brown and chili for me this evening.

        Happy Super Blowout to everyone!

  • Diehardthefirst

    Too bad about Hoffman- he was good in Moneyball and other movies too

    • YourResidentJag

      He will be missed.

    • college_of_coaches

      Indeed, a terrible loss.

  • Dingo

    Why does it take 30 min to play 5 minutes in this game?

  • AdamAE24

    Ok, CJ Edwards can’t seriously still weigh 155. There is no way in 6 months, with the focus on him as a prospect and his development, that he hasn’t gained at least 5 pounds.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Well, he has been focused on as a prospect longer than 6 months, and still can’t gain weight. He didn’t just become a prospect the day the Cubs got him. Some people just can’t gain weight.

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