A few things are givens in life: death, taxes, and high ticket prices. The New York Mets increased ticket prices when they opened Citi Field in 2009, but those prices have declined along with the team's records over the last four years. The team, which has not posted a winning season since 2008, was awarded the 2013 All Star Game and has been using the game as a tool to boost ticket sales. The game has inspired the Mets to raise their ticket prices, and some of the price changes are quite high. These changes highlight this week's edition of Mets 101 News and Notes. Let's start with:
Fans Footing Higher Ticket Bill:
If you want to buy tickets to Opening Day next season, be prepared to pay an arm and a leg to get into the park. The Mets, who put single game tickets for April and May on sale yesterday, have tickets for Opening Day available starting at 63 dollars. A 63 dollar ticket will get fans access to the Promenade Reseved, which are the worst seats in the ball park. Tickets peak at 460 dollars, an absurdly high figure for a team coming off of four straight losing seasons. In comparison, tickets for the next game start at 12 dollars for the same Promenade Reserved seats and peak at 125 dollars, a dramatic difference. The situation becomes even more absurd when you factor in the team's "Holiday Packs", a scenario that Danny Abriano breaks down very well for RisingApple.com. The Mets are offering four game "Holiday Packs" for fans who want to give Mets tickets as gifts. None of the holiday packs offer either Opening Day or the Subway Series games, essentially allowing the Mets to gouge their own fans who want to see one marquee game. Some fans have even reported that the Mets have increased their ticket prices on season tickets after requiring a deposit last year to guarantee an opportunity to purchase All Star Game tickets. These high prices would be ridiculous if the team was a coming off of four winning seasons, let alone four losing ones. It appears that the Mets are using the All Star Game to sneak price increases in after a fourth straight losing campaign, which is a shady practice. Fans being asked to commit to these high ticket prices now don't even have a guarantee that David Wright or R.A. Dickey, the team's two best players, will be on the field for Opening Day. Shame on the Mets for these absurd prices.
Mets Announce Spring Training Schedule:
As baseball's hot stove churns on, fans can begin to anticipate the arrival of spring and the return of baseball. The Mets took one step towards that date by announcing their spring training schedule yesterday. The team will kick off the spring exhibition season on February 23 at Digital Domain Park against the Washington Nationals. The start date is about a week earlier than usual due to the return of the World Baseball Classic next spring, which will pull players such as David Wright out of big league camp and into the competition. Another interesting note is that due to the location of their spring training complex, the Mets are only playing games against six different teams this spring (division rivals Washington, Atlanta, and Miami as well as St. Louis, Detroit, and Houston). The majority of teams now hold their spring training on either the East Coast of Florida or in Arizona, while the Mets and those other teams are located on the West Coast of Florida. The Mets will not be playing the Yankees in spring training again this year, as it is a four hour drive from Port St. Lucie to Tampa. Those extra hours on buses are hours that can't be spent on a baseball field, so the Mets will play a relatively local spring training slate.
Mets Have Competition for Scott Hairston:
One key target for the Mets in free agency has been re-signing outfielder Scott Hairston. It appears that they will face competition from their cross town rivals, the New York Yankees. Dan Martin of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have engaged Hairston in preliminary conversations about switching boroughs this offseason. The Yankees, who have Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson set to start in left and center, have a hole in right field now that they are prepared to let Nick Swisher leave as a free agent. The Yankees are interested in re-signing Raul Ibanez after his solid first season with the club, but could use a more stable right handed compliment to him after the departure of Andruw Jones. Enter Hairston, who could team with Ibanez and give the Yankees a solid lefty/righty platoon in right field. Hairston would also come at a discounted price, which is something the Yankees are considering given the indications that Hal Steinbrenner wants to get the club under the luxury tax by 2014. Hairston is someone the Mets would like to re-sign, but his deal is currently on the back burner behind David Wright and R.A. Dickey.
The First Free Agent Signing:
The Mets have made a small free agent acquisition, signing utility man Brian Bixler to a minor league deal, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. Bixler, 30, rode the Round Rock shuttle between Triple-A and the majors as a member of the Astros organization last year. Bixler, who batted .193 with two home runs in 36 games last season, will be invited to spring training and have the opportunity to compete for a utility job with the big club. Bixler is a switch hitter who can play second, short, third, and all three outfield positions. Bixler is also a much superior right handed batter, with a .731 career OPS against southpaws as opposed to a .445 OPS against righties. Bixler could fill the role of Ronny Cedeno and offer another right handed bat in an outfield loaded with lefties.
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