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In early August, the Mariners demanded money for their playoff strips. You get to pay up front for every possible home game, plus a non-refundable handling fee (a ridiculous $35). In the past, I’ve complained about this a little, particularly the absurdity of having to pay for hypothetical one-game playoffs at the end of the season. It’s all part of their plan to get your money earlier and earlier, and what they don’t take in in non-refundable fees, they stick in a bank and rack up interest dollars. With seven teams in each league able to hit their fans up for playoff money with a straight face, that works out to be a lot of money.

I want baseball to be healthy. Other sports are edging ahead of baseball when it comes to outrageous fees (you might get to pay to stay on the waiting list for season tickets, for instance). So in the interest of keeping my favorite sport ahead of the times, I’d like to present my bill for the 2010 Seattle Mariners playoff strip, presented to me by a time-traveling me (who annoyingly refuses to give me betting advice, stock market tips, or even to travel further back in time and give high-school Derek a particularly important piece of information on one of my/his/our girlfriends that would have prevented a lot of misery all around):

February 1st, 2010
Invoice for Derek Zumsteg
Season Ticket Holder Playoff Package, 2 Tickets


Item                                     Total Cost
First Division or League Tie-breaker      $130
Second Division or League Tie breaker     $130
3 home games, Wild Card Playoffs          $540
3 home games, Divisional Playoffs         $810
4 home games, League Championship         $2,160
4 home games, Microsoft World Series at   $5,000
the Tokyo Dome Presented by MasterCard 
Transaction Charge                        $20
Handling Fee                              $100
Shipping                                  $5
Convenience Fee                           $20
Invoicing Fee                             $5
Receipt Fee                               $5
Ticket Usage Charge                       $18
Zip+4 Lookup                              $1
Account Maintenance                       $7.50
Coors Light MLB Playoff Fan 
Inside Pitch Club Membership              $80
Voluntary Donation to 
Mariners Charity Fund*                    $200
Seat Rental Deposit**                     $500
Incurred Seat Depreciation Cost           $20
Indirect Unit Cost Adjustment             $20
Ticket Value Appreciation Projection      $120
Payment Holding Fee                       $40
Advance Ticket Availability Charge        $40
Ticket Ownership Verification             $10
Payment Method Surcharge                  $12
TicketMaster Fee                          $40
Reverse Payment Debit                     $33
Bank Interchange Fee                      $4
Inflation Insurance                       $22
Printing Fee for World Series 
Collectable Paper Tickets featuring 
lithographs of Major League Baseball 
Commissioner Bob DuPuy by local artists   $30
Commissioner DuPuy Likeness Licensing Fee $40
Material Cost for High Test Ticket 
Stock and Related Incurred Expenses       $10
Authentic MLB Logo Hologram Option 
(required with all paper tickets)         $10
MLB Concession Card Prepayment            $200
Alcohol Consumption License               $100
Multi-page Invoice Fee                    $1
Ticket Value Depreciation Guarantee       $10
Ticket Holding Fee                        $50
Currency Exchange Fee for 
Potential Canadian Games                  $20
Late Fee Protection Charge                $10
Competitive Fan Balance Tax***            $2,500
Bank Error                                $7
Commissioner Tithe                        $80
Refund Guarantee Fee****                  $100
Pre-Line Item Accounting Charge           $57
Sub-total                                 $13,317.50
17% Gratuity                              $2,273.16

PAY THIS AMOUNT                           $15,581.48

Payment in full is due by May 1, 2010.

* A donation of at least $200 is required to be eligible to purchase playoff tickets. This is not combined with the donation required to purchase season tickets
** refundable (1)
*** 1% of taxable annual income as reported by Experian-Equifax, LLC. (2)
**** In the event that not all ticketed games are played, the Refund Guarantee Fee ensures that you will receive payment from Major League Baseball for the face value of unused tickets

1. Under the Fee Reporting Act, our certified rate of partial or full refunds for this deposit in the calendar year 2009 was 82.3%
2. See Section IV, “Competitive Fan Balance,” 2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement