Right under a brilliant blue sky, a stun gun was recently discharged into a sea of shocked baseball fans from coast-to-coast.
New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, ``Captain Clutch’’ or ``Mr. November’’ if you prefer, stunned the baseball world on Wednesday afternoon in announcing that the 2014 baseball season, his 20th season in pinstripes, will be his last.
The five-time Gold Glove winner dropped the bombshell, not in a stuffy press room packed with sharp-elbowed reporters or cameras whirring and hot lights beaming down on him, but through his Facebook Page http://is.gd/j2M64x .
After explaining how difficult last season was during his injury-plagued season and thanking fans for their unwavering support over the last two decades, the All-Star shortstop went on to write: ``It is time for the next chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges. There are many things I want to do in business and philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.’’
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the online social networking service wasn’t at liberty to disclose the total number of page views Jeter’s announcement received, but as of this writing, his posting was liked by 72,758 online users, shared by another 55,994 and received 12,449 comments. All-Star numbers, to be sure.
Now, let the bidding begin.
As soon as the stunning announcement reached baseball fans ears Wednesday afternoon, a great many of those fans undoubtedly punched in the regular season schedule on an Internet search in order to find out when the Yankees, and their exceptionally gifted captain, would blow through town for the final time.
As you might imagine, tickets for the aging matinee idols final curtain call will come at a steep price. At Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, in particular, tickets for Jeter’s final games at either of those baseball rich stadiums are in a league of their own compared with other ballparks around the country.
Forbes Magazine http://is.gd/nQHPPj reported that Jeter’s final regular season game at Yankees Stadium on September 25th has registered an average ticket price of $1,153, up 279 percent since the news broke around 2:00 p.m. eastern time.
According to Connor Gregoire, Communications Analyst at SeatGeek http://is.gd/F7ZyKj , a website that provides search and price forecasting for consumers purchasing sports, concert, and theater tickets on the secondary ticket market, the cheapest tickets available for Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park are hovering around $310-$330 at this point with standing room only tickets for game 162 in Boston available for $300.
The $1,000 or more ticket prices that are being reported by different news organizations and online sites is really just the asking price, the average amount buyers are actually spending on tickets since Jeter's announcement yesterday, is closer to $500 per ticket for each game-still a hefty amount; and according to Gregoire, ``far and away the highest average we've seen for a regular season game since we started monitoring the secondary market in 2009.’’
Within the last 24 hours, other cities listing the most dramatic fluctuation for the all-star’s final tour have been Detroit (Aug. 26-28), St. Louis (May 26-28) and Baltimore (Sept. 12-14), but Gregoire is quick to stress ``there's been an uptick in the number of sales and the price of tickets for almost all of his last stops. ''
Jeter's last games in Queens (Mets) and at Wrigley Field (Cubs) are clearly the most expensive (outside of Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park), while the cheapest are in markets like Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Toronto that historically have some of the lowest ticket resale prices in baseball, Gregoire informs me.
The difference of ticket prices between the North and the South Sides of Chicago is striking: A ticket for Jeter’s last game at U.S. Cellular Field for a White Sox game can be scooped up for an economical $22, a third of what a ticket for Jeter’s final game at Wrigley on the North Side is going for: $62.
While tickets for the future Hall of Famer’s final hurrah are likely to be pricey, it’s worth pointing out; just like the best laid plans of mice and men can often go awry, so too can they go awry for the boys of summer.
The ticket price for Jeter's final games will be determined by a number of factors, the most prominent being his health, that is, if he doesn't land on the DL before the end of the season; the other determining factor is tied to the Yankees playoff chances.
According to Gregoire, ``if Jeter lands on the DL in the lead up to any of these games, prices will fall. If the Yankees are running away with the AL East in mid-to-late September, the same thing will happen for the regular season finale in the Bronx.’’ ``On the other hand’’, Gregoire says, ``if they're eliminated or likely to miss the playoffs at that point, prices for that game could go even higher.’’
What follows is a brief breakdown of the current average ticket price and minimum asking price for Jeter's farewell games outside of the Bronx and Boston.
9/17...Tampa Bay: $76 / $39
9/17...Tampa Bay: $76 / $39
9/14...Baltimore: $97 / $42
8/31...Toronto: $82 / $22
8/28...Detroit: $81 / $42
7/30...Texas: $83 / $34
7/10...Cleveland: $74 / $30
7/6...Minnesota: $90 / $39
6/15...Oakland: $118 / $33
6/12...Seattle: $98 / $29
6/9...Kansas City: $96 / $36
5/28...St. Louis: $118 / $44
5/25...Chicago (AL): $90 / $22
5/21...Chicago (NL): $141 / $62
5/15...New York (NL): $144 / $72
5/11...Milwaukee: $78 / $34
5/17...LA/Anaheim: $125 / $38
4/3...Houston: $129 / $46
Source: SeatGeek Inc.
February 13, 2014