July 1, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Hey, I was at that Tacoma Rainiers game! Rett Johnson was dealing, guy struck out the side at one point, looked great all game long. Total game time was 2:17. It meant I missed the M’s tonight, which is I think the second, maybe third game all year. I see the Mariners lost in extra innings and I’ve gotta say, I’m tired and I just can’t bring myself to look at the recap and find out what happened. So folks, I know you’re probably thinking I’m going to tear into Box Melvin here, but sorry, I was off scouting.

July 1, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Ahem! The Big Board has been updated. So long, Matt White! Aaron Taylor (Derek’s not kidding about that “a-ron” pronunciation, folks), come on down! You’re the next contestant on Bob Melvin’s Tilt-o-Whirl Bullpen Extravaganza! There were a few other moves as well, including the departure of infielder Jay Pecci (waived) and RHP Enmanuel Ulloa (sold to Expos).

In other news, Rett Johnson rocks. Behold his line so far in three AAA starts: 19 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 15 K, 0.47 ERA. This is after he threw six shutout innings of two hit, eight K ball tonight against Portland. Next time somebody tells you the M’s don’t have much on the farm, tell them they’re full of it.

July 1, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Mmm… detailed goodness. Baseball Prospectus has a cool article today that goes batter-by-batter through the weirdness of Sunday’s Padres @ Mariners game. It’s free, so you can read it even if you’re not a subscriber, which you should be. Man, those Baseball Prospectus guys sure have some good writers working for them.

July 1, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Transaction Corner

The M’s sent Matt White back to whence he came and called up Aaron Taylor (he pronounces it “a-ron” despite how you’ll hear it said elsewhere). Taylor was closing for the Rainiers, and it’s possible that Box Melvin will use him as a Sasaki-proxy in closer situations, which would allow him to move everyone else into more set roles and make his decisions even easier.

Man bites dog

The Seattle Times ran an interesting article yesterday: “M’s put prime seats up for online bids”. It’s interesting first that a story that raises legal questions about what the M’s are doing ran in the Seattle Times, though not surprising that it would have to come from Peter Lewis, their consumer affairs reporter. Muckrackers forever!

In the article, Lewis reports that the Mariners are selling charter tickets at auction on their (somewhat illegal) Ticket Marketplace site, where season ticket holders can sell their seats for whatever (totally illegal if they’re in Seattle) price they want. Here’s how this works:

  1. “The team made a strategic decision at the end of the 2002 season to cap season-ticket sales of the remaining charter seats and sell them solely on Ticket Marketplace, Hale said. As many as 111 charter seats per game appear for whatever price the market will bear.” [Article]
  2. M’s attempt to sell the tickets on the Ticket Marketplace for whatever they can get for them, plus 10% buyer’s fee (they’re taking a cut of tickets they’re selling… yeaaaah) —
  3. As game day approaches, they drop the prices
  4. A couple days before game time, they dump the remaining seats to Ticketmaster, where they sell for $box or $field depending on location

The M’s make a whole bunch of weasel-y statements in the article, and some remarkably insightful man-on-the-street comments.

Also interesting is the revelation of how much money the M’s made with their scalping last year: Lewis reports that they split the revenue with the software vendor, MLB Advanced Media (mlb.com (“the pop-upinest site ever!”)), and still made $100,000-$120,000.

Let’s take a stab at this.

I’d be surprised if Liquid Seats got more than 25% of revenue. MLBAM probably takes another 25%, at least. So the total secondary ticket sale market was, minimum, $200,000 — figure an average ticket price of $65, that’s about 3,000 tickets sold/year, or a paltry 40 tickets each home game. Figure it’s an even split all around — LS 33%, MLBAM 33%, Mariners 33%, that’s still $300k-$360k, 4,500 ticket sales/year, or 60 tickets each home game.

That doesn’t seem right to me. There are 51 listings of tickets for the July 8th game against Baltimore, mostly 3-4 tickets but many with more and as many as 11. Mostly semi-reasonable prices. The Mariners could easily sell 150 tickets just for that game.

There are a couple of possibilities:

  1. The Ticket Marketplace is a terrible place to sell tickets at those prices
  2. The Mariners lied about how much money they’re making

Given the Mariners record in financial disclosure and general forthrightness, I’m going to go with #2 there.