The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Economics 201 and baseball

Via my college friend D.M., the New York Mets and Yankees have discovered the Intro to Microeconomics lesson of the effect of higher prices on quantity demanded, a.k.a. "overcharging:"

OK, so neither the new Yankee Stadium nor its counterpart in Flushing can handle the capacity of their predecessors. Fine. But where are the 53,070 people who came nightly to the old Yankee Stadium in 2008, and where are the 49,902 who showed up every night in the final season of Shea Stadium?

So far, the Yankees are averaging 44,636 in their new crib, the Mets 38,806. If baseball is so popular in this town and Yankees and Mets games truly are must-see events, as both clubs insisted throughout the offseason, why aren't there 10,000 people milling around outside their ballparks every game night, trying to buy up every last ticket in the house, and the rest going home empty-handed and disappointed?

One of the reasons, of course, is simple and self-evident. It's the economy, stupid. But in a metropolitan area that certainly has more than 83,442 people - the combined average attendance at both parks - wealthy enough to buy their way into these exclusive clubs dressed as ballparks, there has to be something more to it.

So how high are the prices at Citi and Yankee? High. But hard to break down easily. For today's game against the Marlins, fans have 29—yes, twenty nine—price levels, from the $19 "Promenade Reserved" section near LaGuardia, up to the $375 "Delta Club Gold" section sitting on a diamond-encrusted golden throne in the Mets' dugout. The seats I would look for, upper deck box seats in the infield (Citi sections 406-428, the "Promenade Box") are $35.

Wrigley, today, has three price levels left (because the park is nearly sold out), $56 for upper deck box infield up to $90 club box infield. (Good seats, though--the $56 seat is right above home plate.)

I should point out, both the Mets and Yankees are in first place today, and the Cubs...well, they're not, but they are at least one game above .500.

So is it just the price of going to the park that is keeping people away from New York baseball parks? Or is it something else?


Two kinds.

First, I have complained previously that the City has not always been terrifically helpful notifying people about street sweeping. Since I can sometimes go a couple of weeks without driving, I've gotten a number of $60 tickets (some with art, because the street sweeping machines have cameras now), even after checking the purported schedule online. Today, I am happy to report, my alderman's office sent an automated notice about street sweeping a week in advance. Color me impressed. I suppose the parking meter nonsense has gotten the aldermen sufficiently nervous about carrying out their usual parking ticket scams.

Second, last night I had the misfortune of watching the Cubs lose 2-1 to the Dodgers, the latter being so confident of the outcome that they deliberately loaded the bases with one out in the 9th. Did the Cubs get a hit to tie (or even win) the game? No, they did not. This is the fourth game in a row the Cubs have lost to the Dodgers; the three previous losses, as many will recall, happened last October in the National League Division Series. Phooey.

Our seats were in section 512, row 9. Here's the view:

I'm only half kidding; we really were in the top row of the ballpark, and that really was the view to the west. Here's the view to the east:

I actually like sitting all the way up there. That way, when Zambrano beats up the Gatorade dispenser I can't see it, and my psyche is not permanently scarred.

Eight in a row

That's how many the Cubs have lost as of last night. Somehow, even with Mr. T (yes, that Mr. T) revving up the crowd in the 7th inning, even with 8 runs, even with a sell-out Wrigley, they lost. Again. The game's highlight, from where I sat (on the third-base side where I couldn't see the Cubs' dugout), was Freddy Sanchez going 6-for-6. Unfortunately, Sanchez got those six hits for the Pirates.

Not much more to say, but for those of you who haven't been to Wrigley and wondered what Waveland Avenue looks like, voilà:

Almost made up for Thursday

Another Cubs game, but this time, a win. The Cubs beat the Giants last night 4-2, with a small enough crowd that my cousin and I were able to "upgrade" from our actual seats and actually see the game.

You see, the Cubs organization counts paid attendance, which last night was 39,112—not bad in a park that holds 41,118. Only, not everyone who paid actually attended. We guessed the actual in-the-park attendance may not have crested 30,000, which was at least better than the sell-out we attended last Thursday in which half the seats were empty.

One of those games

Given the Cubs' recent performance, last night's 8-2 loss against the first-place Marlins doesn't sound that far out of the ordinary.

Then you see the box score, and see that the Marlins got 6 of their runs in the 10th inning, and you start to cry. Yes, the 10th.

I actually left the park after the 4th run in the top of the 10th. The Cubs still hadn't gotten the first out by the time I made it to Addison.

I'll be there Monday, when (one hopes) they will not lose quite as badly to the Giants.

There is no joy in Mudville

(Mudville is that $1.5 billion park just over the Harlem River in the Bronx.) The Yankees had a disappointing 2nd inning hosting the Indians yesterday as Cleveland set a new Major League record:

A 37-minute top of the second at Yankee Stadium saw the Tribe put up 14 runs on 13 hits off right-handers Chien-Ming Wang and Anthony Claggett. The big inning, which set the Tribe on course for its eventual 22-4 victory, tied for the most productive inning in Indians history and set a record for the most productive inning by an opponent in Yankees history.

The 14 runs set a Major League record for the most in the second inning. The record was 13, and it was last accomplished, ironically, by the Yankees exactly four years ago against Tampa Bay.

In other news, the Cubs beat the Cardinals yesterday 7-5 at Wrigley after 11 innings.