There are some growing pains in this conversion process, for sure. I’ve become a daily reader of Pirates blogs and news outlets and the discrepancy between the haves and have-nots in Major League Baseball is striking. While Boston considers anyone and everyone for positions they’ve already committed millions of dollars toward, the Pirates look for B-grade veterans and replacement-level adequates. The good news is that money doesn’t buy championships – look at the Yankees since the turn of the century. But money can buy every advantage needed to tip the playing field.
This isn’t breaking news. One revenue advantage the Red Sox have, in part, fabricated is their fake ‘sellout’ streak. It’s a marketing sham (a ‘sellout’ is not defined by a full stadium) and a double cash cow. While feeding their need to be the most obsessed-over team in baseball, the Sox declare a ‘sellout’ when more than roughly 37,000 tickets are sold for any given game*. And while the actual number of attendees doesn’t matter in the ever-mounting pile of ‘sellouts’ based on the useful defination employed by the team’s PR machine, the Sox cash in twice by taking money from AceTicket for being the team’s official re-sale outlet (read: legalized scalper). So Sox fans/capitalists can purchase tickets with little intent of watching the game (ensuring a ‘sellout’) and then turn a profit through the secondary market, splitting those profits with the Red Sox themselves – from whom they purchased the tickets in the first place. Disgusting. Worse yet, the jokers willing to pay 2 – 3 times face value are often relatively dim when it comes to the game of baseball itself. The result: a mostly full park of non-baseball fans taking in the scene while piles of tickets sit unused in storefronts with Sox logos. Thanks John Henry! Thanks Dr. Charles Steinberg! Thanks for turning the Olde Towne Team into crappy dinner theatre with a bad soundtrack.
The Pirates don’t sell out. But everyone that buys a ticket does so for the love of the game and the team. There is no inflated secondary market for Pirates tickets. The team doesn’t profit twice on seats sold. It’s just baseball, thank God. Now let’s go out and get Carlos Pena!!!
*The actual capacity of Fenway is a mystery, further trivializing the notion of a ‘sellout’. Some ‘sellouts’ have little more than 37,000 ticket sold while others approach 38,500. There is some wiggle room connected to the hitter’s backdrop for day games, but that doesn’t explain the day-to-day variations.