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September 30, 2004 12:00 am

Thanks for the Memories

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Jonah Keri

Overwhelmed by the groundswell of warm, reminiscing letters from Expos fans, Jonah Keri shares the best reader recollections, plus two more of his own.

There was one major benefit from all of it, though: The avalanche of e-mails I received, from BP readers, old friends, family, everyone who felt the pain of losing the Expos as much as I did. There were even well-wishers with no attachment to the Expos writing in with encouraging words. The letters I received made me smile, even laugh. For that, I offer my sincere thanks.

In fact, I'm going to go one better. After reading my Expos flashbacks, a slew of readers chimed in with recollections of their own, games, moments and players that left indelible marks, some from 20, 30 years ago. With their permission, I'm going to run those reminiscences here, for other readers to enjoy.

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Why does Willie Bloomquist get to have all the fun? Derek Zumsteg writes in with a handy-dandy guide to becoming an MLB ballplayer, and a fan favorite to boot.

I'm going to risk stamping a giant red expiration date on this column in this introductory paragraph: Paris Hilton has a book deal, and her proposal includes "an abbreviated version of her instructions to anyone on how to become an heiress and live a privileged life." The first is "1. Be born into the right family. Choose your chromosomes wisely."

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May 17, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

The fifth installment of the series tours the majors' largest division, the NL Central. Four of the six clubs in the division have moved into new ballparks since 2000, yet the one that's virtually sold out for the season is the one that plays in a 90-year-old park built for the Federal League. The Reds, Brewers and Pirates are Exhibits A, B and C for the proposition that a new ballpark doesn't ensure on-field success. Once again, I shopped the clubs' Web sites on MLB.com to see which seats a fan could hope to buy two or three weeks in advance, and how much a typical fan, or a typical family could expect to pay. That didn't work for the Cubs, who were sold out three months in advance, but everywhere else, typical fans are likely to pay less than Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index suggests they would.

The fifth installment of the series tours the majors' largest division, the NL Central. Four of the six clubs in the division have moved into new ballparks since 2000, yet the one that's virtually sold out for the season is the one that plays in a 90-year-old park built for the Federal League. The Reds, Brewers and Pirates are Exhibits A, B and C for the proposition that a new ballpark doesn't ensure on-field success.

Once again, I shopped the clubs' Web sites on MLB.com to see which seats a fan could hope to buy two or three weeks in advance, and how much a typical fan, or a typical family could expect to pay. That didn't work for the Cubs, who were sold out three months in advance, but everywhere else, typical fans are likely to pay less than Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index suggests they would.

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April 30, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

This is the second installment of my six-part survey of how much fans can actually expect to pay for tickets to major league games. I choose a mid-week game, then shop for tickets on MLB.com a few weeks in advance. First I look for a block of casual fan seats: ideally, four behind the plate and towards the front of the upper deck. These are usually, but not always, cheaper than the average price ticket used by Team Marketing Report to calculate the Fan Cost Index. Then I repeat the process three more times. Twice I look for the best available seats, as determined by the MLB.com ticket computer--once for a family of four and once for a single fan. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales, while the best single-seat option shows where a fan who doesn't care about the cost can sit without paying scalpers' prices. Finally, I look for the cheapest seats to find the lowest a fan using MLB.com could pay to get into the ballpark. To complete the survey, I check the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fan's attendance, scan the club's promotional schedule for unusual events, and put it all together in the form below...

Then I repeat the process three more times. Twice I look for the "best available seats," as determined by the MLB.com ticket computer--once for a family of four and once for a single fan. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales, while the best single-seat option shows where a fan who doesn't care about the cost can sit without paying scalpers' prices. Finally, I look for the cheapest seats to find the lowest a fan using MLB.com could pay to get into the ballpark.

To complete the survey, I check the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fan's attendance, scan the club's promotional schedule for unusual events, and put it all together in the form below:

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April 27, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

Last week I identified some of the problems with the "Fan Cost Index" developed by Team Marketing Report. One of the biggest issues, TMR's use of average ticket prices to calculate how much a typical family of four could expect to pay to see a game, has to be addressed on a team-by-team basis. This is the first of six articles that will do so. I'm starting with the AL East. My hypothetical customers decide a few weeks in advance which game they plan to attend, then shop for tickets on MLB.com. To keep the methodology constant, I'm ignoring any special knowledge I may have about a particular stadium's seats, seating and ticketing policies, and relying entirely on what I can find on MLB.com.

My hypothetical customers decide a few weeks in advance which game they plan to attend, then shop for tickets on MLB.com. To keep the methodology constant, I'm ignoring any special knowledge I may have about a particular stadium's seats, seating and ticketing policies, and relying entirely on what I can find on MLB.com.

For each game, I looked for four types of tickets. The most important, for these purposes, is a block of four "casual fan" seats--the ones that Team Marketing Report's hypothetical family would probably sit in. In checking out the options, I used my own seating preferences; in particular, I'd rather have a better angle on the action from the upper deck than a seat closer to the diamond but far down the lines. I went through the ticketing process up to the point where I was asked for my credit card, taking note of the service charges and processing fees that magically appeared along the way. (Since Team Marketing Report doesn't count these, neither did I.)

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May 14, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Roger Angell, Part II

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Alex Belth

Alex Belth returns with the second installment of his Q&A with sportswriter Roger Angell, discussing the Yankees of recent vintage, Barry Bonds, Bill James, and more.

Baseball Prospectus: What are your impressions of the Yankees during the past 10 years?

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May 9, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Roger Angell, Part I

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Alex Belth

Roger Angell, The New Yorker's celebrated baseball writer, has a new compilation out titled Game Time, which contains many new pieces along with some previously published ones as well. BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Angell last weekend and talked about growing up a New York Giants baseball fan, the present-day Yankees, plus other topics New York baseball-focused and otherwise.

Baseball Prospectus: How did you get your start as a baseball fan, and as a writer?

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March 28, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: What Can You Spell With Four Ps?

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Gary Huckabay

For a long time, I've been trying to find someone who's at or near the top of the ladder in an MLB marketing department to talk to me about some of the unique challenges, opportunities, and practices in marketing an MLB club, and to give a spin-free answer to some of the tougher questions that readers have asked about MLB's policies over the years. On Thursday, I was fortunate enough to talk with the lead executive of an MLB club's marketing department, and they agreed to answer any questions I threw out, so long as I didn't give out their name.

On March 16th, Fred Halverson passed away after a long battle with illness at the age of 82. Mr. Halverson is directly and personally responsible for much of the success and happiness enjoyed in life by countless students of Menlo School, and he made a positive impact on my life for which I am forever grateful. He provided guidance and support at a time in my life at which I needed both, and his generosity and kindness will never be forgotten by those whose lives he touched. The world is greatly diminished by his passing, but more enriched by his having ever been with us.

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