Marlins fans get raw deal for flex pricing

  • David Whitlock

Small market baseball teams are realizing that “flex pricing” can mean significant revenue when big name teams visit your home ballpark.  It can work in Spring Training just as much as the regular season.  After all, who wouldn’t want to pay extra to see superstars like Ryan Lavarnway (C, cleanup), Bryce Brentz (RF), and Heiker Meneses at 2B (is that an Egyptian king)?  Did I mention these were the starters for the World Champion Boston Red Sox today at Jupiter, Florida?  According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, fans paid about $10 extra per ticket (which in Spring Training, can be double) to see the version of pillow-fight row.  Dayn Perry of CBS Eye on Baseball has the box score graphic:

Marlins-Red-Sox-lineup-030614

I’ll spoil the ending, the Red Sox didn’t score.  But neither did the Miami Marlins.  Wow, talking about paying a lot to watch grass grow.  Or strong pitching, like John Lester, errr Clayton Buchholz, err, “future star” Allen Webster.  The best known player for the 2013 champs was Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who defected in the off-season.  There is actually a rule in Spring Training to ensure fan enjoyment that was clearly violated (via CBS Eye on Baseball):

Major League Baseball has specific guidelines about Grapefruit and Cactus League lineups. Its 2014 regulations state teams should field: “A minimum of four players who are regulars on the previous year’s major league team or who were platooned on the previous year’s major league team on a regular basis, or who have a reasonable chance to be regulars on the major league club’s squad during the upcoming season. Each of those regulars, excluding pitchers, must play a minimum of three complete innings.”

The article noted that the league will be reviewing this.

Some extenuating circumstances should be noted, the weather was dreadful in the Florida today with five Grapefruit League games cancelled (plus this one only went seven and a half).  The drive from Ft. Myers (Red Sox) to Jupiter (Marlins) is 2.5 hours.  With rain in the forecast, if you’re a veteran, you think the bus ride sounds like fun?  Correct answer…just call it a rain out and move on.  Ten other teams did.  Or at least, refund all ticket prices on that.

– David Whitlock

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David Whitlock

David Whitlock - manager

David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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