What a Deal ... $90 Spring Training Tickets

What a deal - for only $90 you can buy a single ticket to a Dodgers spring training game at the new Camelback Ranch ballpark. The Dodgers didn't say if this included parking or not. And a hot dog is still likely to set you back most of a five dollar bill. Ditto a beer.

Now we know why the Dodgers left Vero Beach. The largely retiree crowd would never have stood for that even if they could have afforded it. Many of the Florida retirees have seen their pensions threatened, health care costs escalating, return on CDs dwindling to next to nothing.

So the thought of paying Arizona prices for a spring training game was enough to send the retirees into apoplexy.

Now the Floridians didn't much care that the early game cameo appearances of the regulars took most of  the big league character of spring training to an early end as they were watching their watches to make sure they didn't miss the beginning of the early bird restaurant specials, but it is interesting to see if the new Arizona faithful will feel cheated at the decidedly lack of big league product for their new price structure.

Forget about the four and five year demands of players in the upper stratosphere. Forget about the Jason Schmidt's and the Kevin Brown's and the Darren Dreifort's. Or maybe don't forget about this economic insanity. Its the crazy idea of the  players and owners and agents that deal in monopoly game money numbers that whatever it costs, it can be passed along  to unsuspecting paying customers.

What the owners and players and agents have yet to wake up to is that the economic world of the paying fans has changed radically, overnight and seriously. Don't the baseball financial decision makers read pages other than the sports pages?

Haven't they yet heard of the mortgage crisis that has turned into the banking crisis in the Wall Street nightmare into the world financial crisis. While the feds haven't laid of workers yet, city, county and state governments have. Workers first, then sooner or later it will be the product itself.

It was less than 10 years ago when a spring training season ticket ducat cost $65 with parking thrown in.

Lots of Americans - and that has to include America' baseball fans - are cutting back their spending to match their dwindling resources. Look at car sales. Look at department store sales. Watch the holiday gift giving sales. Watch credit card issuers and users. Down, down, down. There's a message in all this, a message baseball doesn't seem to have  gotten yet.

Frankly, we don't care if the the Dodgers never sign another big name player to a multimillion a year, multi-year contract. We'd just as soon lose with a Florida Marlins type budget and roster. Last we looked, the Marlins have been in postseason more than the big budget Dodgers over the past 20 plus years. We'd rather try to win with the Guy Conti's and Ken Huckaby's and  Jason Repko's of the baseball world, names most people have seldom if ever heard of, much less salivate over.

If baseball doesn't change, and sooner than later, they'll invite a fan reaction, and a negative one. It isn't they don't want to continue shelling out more and more money, it's because they simply are unable to. What will baseball do then, run off to Washington for a bailout?

The bailout business looks like it was a great deal that is until everybody began to line up for handouts. The window closed abruptly as the automakers and automakers unions are finding out. Heck, the airlines haven't even had a chance to get a scheduled hearing in place. And before long, states and local governments will be there, and probably to make a much more compelling case than baseball might.

The worst word you could mention to the baseball players association (and agents) is collusion. But a paying customers collusion is not a matter of if but when.

Now in the salad days of anything goes, the players, their union, were indeed parsimonious when they were rolling in clover.  Look at how many times they increased the very meager pensions of baseball retirees. Look at how many times they seriously considered adding in career minor leaguers, minor league managers and coaches.

Mr. Eldon Roe, the Arkansas grocery store owner known to all as "Preacher" only recently took his spitball to heaven at age 92. It wasn't so long ago the O'Malley Dodgers invited a very aging Preacher as a fantasy camp "instructor". It then cost about $5,000 to attend one of these camps and the team paid each instructor about one attendee's fee for their services.

Preacher's pension from baseball was zero, the WalMarts of this world had made mom and pop grocery stores a negative proposition, and the $5,000 the Preacher picked up was very, very, very appreciated. Fact is the baseball money train started late, never was retroactive, and is no likely to burst before it benefits anybody even now chasing the big brass ring on the merry go round in the current minors.

We don't feel sorry for any agent or owner or current players. We do feel a lot sorry for those in baseball they might have helped more, current, past and future. And we'd feel a lot more sympathetic to the game's plight if there were the slightest hint of sympathy for the wallets of the saps, er, the paying customers.  

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories