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The Zack Greinke season ticket plan

Jan 20, 2010, 11:25 AM EDT

Neat idea from Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star:

In Zack Greinke, the Royals have a superstar with more unabashed love
from the local fan base than anybody else in baseball with possible
exceptions for Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, and Albert Pujols . . . The Royals should take full advantage of this by selling a flex season ticket package to cover all of Greinke’s starts.

Neat, but probably unworkable. As Sam himself points out, you may not know until 2PM one afternoon if Greinke is going to start that evening and that would create logistical problems. Sure, maybe you could limit them, and Sam suggests some ways to do it, but there would still be a lot of hassle involved.

I think the bigger problem, however, would be less one of logistics than of incentives. I don’t know the cut of Trey Hillman’s jib when it comes to this kind of thing, but what happens if ownership installs a total company man in the manager’s office and more or less forces him to do whatever he can to pitch Greinke (or whatever star on whatever team comes up with such an idea) against the less desirable opponents, thereby bumping sales on what would otherwise be a low draw?  Or what if he’s strongly encouraged to pitch Greinke more than he otherwise would, such as late in the season when the game doesn’t matter and the guy could totally use a day off.  In either scenario the tail of commerce is wagging the dog of competition (or some other terrible metaphor to that effect).

No, I don’t think such a sinister plot is likely, but the mere existence of a bad incentives can be a bad thing in and of itself and the law of unintended consequences can be a bitch, so it’s probably best not to go down that road.

  1. Ron - Jan 20, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    The Royals already have a complete yes man in Hillman. He does everything he is told by Moore.
    How else do you explain all the plate appearances given to Pena and Betencourt, the continued usage of Farnsworth, and the mis-handling of Gordon and Butler.
    The Royals already have a yes man. Now all they need is someone capable of asking the right questions.

  2. Lawrence From Plattekill - Jan 20, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Wouldn’t it be the opposite? Since KC will already have been paid for season tickets to see Greinke, they wouldn’t need to pitch him more often. It’s the other way–if people don’t buy tickets until they know he’s going to pitch–that has the incentive to overwork Greinke.

  3. Simon DelMonte - Jan 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    I would think that walk-up sales when Zach pitches would be more profitable than discounted package sales.

  4. Zac - Jan 20, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Don’t most teams have packages that include things like “any 10 (or whatever) home weekday games?” I could swear I’ve seen those, and if you can generally allow people to redeem tickets for things like any weekday games, you’d think you could figure out a way to let people decide whether or not they’re going to go depending on the latest starting pitcher matchups.

  5. okobojicat - Jan 20, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Its really not hard to figure out the ticket plan. Basically you sell vouchers for any game that people want to redeem, but are only redeemable at games that Greinke pitches.
    Most minor league teams sell 1/4 or 1/8 season packages that are in fact just vouchers.
    As for having Greinke only pitch against the A’s or Blue Jays or Orioles when they know they won’t draw very much, I doubt you’ll find too may people who would accept the manager’s job and would still do that.

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