The Houston Astros, who could lose at least 100 games for a fourth consecutive season, announced Friday they are raising ticket prices for 2015. They've even mailed literature to season-ticket holders with specifics. The cover boy for that brochure, which you can see above, is right-hander Jarred Cosart — whom the team traded a day earlier in a deadline deal.
At least it doesn't say, probably, "Renew early for the best seats to see the Miami Marlins and former Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart!" As with Billy Beane in Oakland with the Yoenis Cespedes "La Potencia"T-shirt giveaway, the Astros' marketing department and general manager Jeff Luhnow really need to consult with each other before the next trade deadline.
Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle talked to team president Reid Ryan (Nolan Ryan's son) about the plan to raise prices:
About "70 percent" of them, Ryan says. And you have to figure single-game tickets are going up too.
The issue isn't so much the haul the 'Stros got from the Marlins for Cosart, who's 24 years old and talented, but no better than Houston's fourth-best starter this season. In return, outfielder Jake Marisnick is a major-league ready prospect who plays a position the Astros also needed to fill. The best part of the deal might be Colin Moran, a third baseman who was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft. Moran is 21 and playing in the Class A Florida State League, so he's probably two years from seeing Houston.
That's where the issue is: Cosart was the here and now, and Marisnick is a mystery and Moran is a baby. The Astros might be improving, it's just hard to see how when they're going to get better, assuming they will. While everybody knows the Astros were rebuilding from the bottom up, it's understandably hard to have patience if you're a fan who's seen them lose 106, 107 and 111 games since 2011, plus at least 90-something this season, if not more. They might not finish in last place this season — oh, boy! And if they finish the season at least 19-34, they won't lose 100 games. Golly!
And now they're raising ticket prices, telling their fans all about it with a brochure featuring a player that fans hoped would be part of a brighter tomorrow.
Aside from the marginal improvement in the standings. Astros have had a rough year, being accused of manipulating the draft by the Major League Baseball Players Association after Houston failed to sign the top overall pick, left-hander Brady Aiken, and two other draftees. And they're still dickering with local carriers so that Astros games might be seen by all of Houston that's wired for cable.
Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell were a long time ago, weren't they?
Big BLS H/N: CBS Eye on Baseball
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