SBD/April 2, 2013/MLB Season Preview

NL Franchise Notes: Phillies Ticket Sales Down 500,000 From Last Year

Phillies VP/Ticket Sales & Operations John Weber said of the team's ticket sales, "We are at 2.6 million (tickets sold); last year we were at 3.1 million at the same time point. We are clearly down, but to be at 2.6 million in mid-March is incredible. I’d take that every year. We have different challenges this year." He added the Phillies have capped season-ticket sales in the "past three years at 28,000 and this year we are at 24,500," putting the team "about fourth or fifth" in MLB. Weber: "As an organization, we have to be more aggressive calling past accounts and renewing customers" (PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/29 issue).

TWO ROADS: In Miami, Linda Robertson writes the Marlins and Nationals are "heading in different directions." The Nationals are "following a map and driving toward a dynasty, with young players signed for years." But the Marlins organization is "at another one of its funky intersections, uncertain which way to turn, idling in neutral." Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria and President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest can "start to rebuild -- a solid foundation and good faith -- by signing" RF Giancarlo Stanton to a contract that "makes a statement about the Marlins’ future." Loria has to "stop bouncing around and find a payroll he can live with in the Miami market." Robertson: "Emulate the Braves and Cardinals and follow a consistent budget" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/2).

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: In DC, Tracee Hamilton wrote the Nationals may "wind up feeling like the entire dreadful Kardashian family rolled into one by the time October rolls around," and they have "only themselves to blame." Once you have "raised the bar, even by a few inches, no one wants to see you ratchet it down again." If the Nationals "don't live up to the promise of what they accomplished in 2012, the culprit will be the pressure of what they accomplished in 2012" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/30).

DESERT SONG: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes Opening Day is "a big tease." A sold-out crowd for last night's Cardinals-D'Backs game proves that the city "can look and sound like a real baseball town." But the D'Backs are in a "tough spot." They are "trapped by their surroundings, playing a summertime sport in a city where summer is loathed." D'Backs Managing Partner Ken Kendrick said of Chase Field, "We used the model of what was happening in Colorado. I'm certainly not faulting those who chose to build the 49,000 seats. Had I been making the decisions, I might have done the same thing. But in hindsight, we know we could have done better with 40,000 to 42,000 seats" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/2).

FARM SUBSIDIES: In Baton Rouge, Ted Lewis reports Triple-A PCL New Orleans Zephyrs GM Mike Schline yesterday confirmed a report that Owner Don Beaver "has been in discussions" with Astros Owner Jim Crane to sell the franchise, which "likely would be moved to suburban Houston" in '15. Crane has "expressed interest in relocating" the Astros' Triple-A affiliate PCL Oklahoma City RedHawks to Montgomery County, "about 40 miles north of downtown Houston" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 4/2).
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