You probably noticed that Saturday’s Cubs game against the Angels featured a Los Angeles team with almost all minor leaguers. The reason: Angels major leaguers had departed for L.A., where they played the annual preseason “Freeway Series” against the Dodgers, Sunday, Monday and today.
The same was true for the Royals vs. Cubs game at Sloan Park Sunday. K.C.’s MLB players had departed for Arlington, Texas for a two-game preseason set against the Rangers.
And today, you will see a team of mostly Cubs minor leaguers face the White Sox, as all the Cubs’ MLB players flew to Chicago last night so they’d have two days to get their places in Chicago set up before Thursday’s Opening Day against the Brewers.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing this, in fact, from the Cubs’ point of view I think it’s a good idea, to let players get settled in their summer homes in Chicago before beginning the season.
So why I am I writing this article?
Because of ticket prices.
The prices at Sloan Park for today’s game are essentially the same as Sunday’s. For a season ticket holder whose seat is in section 111, the price is $46. (Monday’s game in the same seat was $58.) Lawn season tickets for Monday were $26, for today $21. Similar single-game tickets for today are, respectively, $62 and $28.
And that’s cheap compared to what they’re charging in L.A. Look what a ticket behind the home dugout at Angel Stadium costs for tonight’s game vs. the Dodgers:
It would cost you more than twice as much for a similar seat at Globe Life Field for today’s exhibition game between the Royals and Rangers:
I’m going to call this exactly what it is: Greed. It’s unconscionable to charge these regular-season prices for a meaningless game that will likely involve a lot of minor-league players. If any Royals major leaguers play in this game, they’re likely leaving early to head to K.C., where the Royals open the season Thursday against the Twins. (The Rangers open their season at home Thursday against the Phillies.)
Also, look at the number of seats apparently already taken for those games — I wonder if these teams made their season ticket holders buy these practice games at full price.
In past years, games like this generally featured MLB players taking one at-bat, playing three innings or so, then departing for their Opening Day destination. I don’t have any issue with MLB teams, including the Cubs, wanting to get their players a bit more rest and get settled before Opening Day — that’s a good idea.
But it would be nice if today’s Sloan Park game had lower-priced tickets — and the prices in Anaheim and Arlington are just ridiculous.
These games should be priced accordingly for what they are — glorified minor-league games with maybe a MLB pitcher or two getting a final tune-up for the season. (Per today’s MLB scoreboard page, all the teams mentioned in this article are starting MLB pitchers, including the Cubs — Drew Smyly will start today’s game in Mesa.)
Baseball ticket prices are high enough in general. They shouldn’t be this high for meaningless practice games featuring mostly minor league players.