A 101-loss season makes any baseball team a hard sell, even one that has been used to drawing 3 million fans per season.
The Cubs fell short of that mark this year, when they finished 61-101 and drew 2.88 million to Wrigley Field. So for 2013, the Cubs say the average ticket price has been lowered by 2 percent, with bleacher tickets on average being lowered by 10 percent.
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Team officials say season-ticket prices/invoices "are either flat or reduced for the second season in a row. Also for the second year in a row, Cubs season-ticket holders will pay less than individual-game ticket buyers. On average, a season ticket will be $1 to $2 less per game than individual-game tickets in the same location."
Under baseball President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, the Cubs are in full rebuild mode, and pressure has been growing from some fans to lower ticket prices while the team puts out a product that resembles a first-year expansion club on most days.
The Cubs also have been criticized for the large number of "premium" dates, which come with higher ticket prices. The team breaks down its dates into "bronze," "silver," "gold," "platinum" and "marquee" categories. For next year, the Cubs say there are fewer marquee/platinum seating-bowl games (from 29 in 2012 to 26 in 2013), and there are more bronze/silver/gold bleacher games (from 52 in 2011 to 55 to 2013).
Bleacher season-ticket prices and individual-game prices are decreasing on average by 10 percent per ticket. Next year marks the second season in a row that bleacher tickets will experience a double-digit percentage price decrease, according to the Cubs.
Other ticket details:
• The top-level marquee bleacher individual ticket is being lowered $9 to $69 (plus fees) from $78, and there are less than half as many marquee games next year (six in 2013) than last year (13).
• There are seven fewer marquee/platinum bleacher games in 2013 (from 22 in 2012 to 15 in 2013) and there are more bronze/silver/gold bleacher games in 2013 (from 59 in 2011 to 66 to 2013).
In the seating bowl, the Cubs say:
• For the second year in a row, no daily season-ticket holder will see an increase in their invoice compared with 2012, while some will see a decrease.
• All terrace reserved outfield seating (both season-ticket invoices and average individual-game price) will be reduced by an average of 5 percent.
• All upper-deck reserved seating (both season ticket invoices and average individual game price) will be reduced by an average of 10 percent.
The Cubs on Tuesday completed the Aug. 5 trade of infielder-outfielder Jeff Baker to Detroit by acquiring minor-league right-hander Marcelo Carreno.
Carreno, 21, went 9-8 with a 3.23 ERA and a WHIP of 1.13 in 27 starts for Class A West Michigan this year. He struck out 119 and walked only 28 in 1391⁄3 innings pitched. MLB.com ranked him the No. 11 prospect in Detroit's system.
Some of the most unsung heroes in baseball are traveling secretaries and clubhouse managers and assistants. Baseball beat writers know this, so it's with a great measure of sadness that I heard the Cubs had fired longtime traveling secretary Jimmy Bank. He spent 20 years with the Cubs, and was second in seniority among major-league traveling secretaries until being fired last week.
If hotel rooms were too expensive in a city and you needed the team rate, Jimmy was right there. He also read the daily news clips and was always ready with a compliment on a story.
Bank already has heard from hundreds of baseball people wishing him well, including prominent ex-players.
During his career, Jimmy worked under and thrived for bosses such as Charlie Finley with the A's and Bud Selig of the Brewers.
Times change, I guess. Not always for the better.