Playing the numbers game
June 3, 2010
Here was my favorite number from Wednesday: zero. That's essentially the number of tickets that remain for the Nats game on Tuesday, also known as the debut of Stephen Strasburg, also known as Baseball Jeezus. Sure, there are a few tickets left as part of season-ticket or flex packages, but it's not a significant number. For all purposes, the game is now a sellout.
But that's not the only number that caught my eye. Here are some more:
$102.13. That's the average price for Tuesday tickets on the secondary market, according to FanSnap, a ticket search engine that surveys about 60 sites. According to the company, tickets were averaging $38.30 in mid-May. That number increased to $70.40 on Monday and $109.73 on Tuesday before dipping slightly.
In general, the average ticket to a Nats home game has been around $53 this season, according to FanSnap.
Seats on StubHub for June 8 have gone for as much as $500, and at one point Wednesday that site was displaying 3,975 available tickets, a full 9.5 percent of the Nationals Park inventory. SeatGeek, meanwhile, reports that the Nats went from the 19th most popular MLB team on the resale market in early May, to the seventh-most popular team in recent days.
As for the entry point to see Strasburg's debut, FanSnap puts it at around $32. That's up from $11.85 for the cheapest June 8 ticket back in mid-May.
And speaking of cheap entry points, how about:.
$0.99 There were at least 16 tickets to the Nats' June 4 home game against the Reds on sale for less than a dollar at StubHub. Less than a dollar? To see a .500 ballclub face first-place visitors on a Friday night in June?
See, it would appear a few folks bought June 4 tickets not out of love for the Nats or the game, but to see either one player pitch, or to capitalize on demand to see that player pitch. When it became clear that he wasn't pitching on Friday, the secondary market became flooded. Throughout Wednesday, there were dozens of tickets for less than two bucks, and more than 200 for three dollars or less.
I have a press credential, and yet I called a friend to ask if he wanted to join me at the stadium for $1.09 or so. Can't let a deal like that pass you by.
100 percent. That's the percentage of interviews he does in which fellow rookie pitcher Drew Storen estimated he fields Strasburg questions.
"I joke with Strass that I should be getting a cut from our PR department because I've done so many interviews about him," Storen told me. "But that's part of it. I'm glad. It gets me more attention because of it. I'd probably just fly under the radar without him. The fact that I've been in his shadow gets me more attention."
As for what Tuesday will be like, "I can't imagine," Storen said. "It was nuts in the minor leagues, and the minor leagues don't get like that. People don't get nuts to see a player in minor leagues, they get nuts for cheap beer and fireworks, so I can't imagine what it's gonna be like at this level. Of course we want Strass to pitch well, but we want to win, and we want to play well once those fans come out so we can get them to stick around."
2: That's the likely number of future Nationals mentioned on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated, which announces stories on Strasburg and Bryce Harper with the headline "Baseball's Next Superstars." No pressure, guys.