Big League Stew - MLB

It used to be that guaranteeing yourself a spot at the World Series meant either ponying up for a season-ticket package or posting suggestive Craigslist ads.

Now all it takes is some good old-fashioned gambling!

Well, wait. Major League Baseball isn't exactly calling its new money-making scheme "gambling."

No, "Postseason Ticket Reservations" is the preferred nomenclature for what Selig Co. has cooked up.

And depending on your willingness to roll the dice, that euphemism could either give you access to a seat at a playoff game for your favorite team — or an empty wallet to go with your broken heart.

Allow MLB.com to explain how it works:

Let's take the defending National League champs as an example. If you purchase a National League Division Series Home Game 1 reservation for the Phillies and they qualify for the postseason, your selected game will occur and a reservation would allow you to purchase a ticket for the first home Division Series game at Citizens Bank Park (either Game 1 or Game 3 of the Division Series, depending on whether the Phillies have home field advantage in the series).

The cost for each transaction is $10 for the Division Series, $15 for the League Championship Series and $20 for the World Series. The maximum purchase for each game is two reservations per household per team per series. So it would cost $90 now if you wanted to reserve two tickets for one game of all three possible postseason rounds, for example.

The only thing this new plan doesn't give you? Your money back if your team falls short.

(Or access to Yankees playoff games. They're the only team missing from the online system.)

To be fair, MLB.com isn't making any bones that this is its form of a futures market. And $20 is a small risk to take on the Red Sox when a scalped Fall Classic ticket at Fenway Park would be marked up much higher than one Andrew Jackson. Like I said with those reprinted Roy Halladay perfect-game tickets, no one's forcing anyone to spend any money here.

Still, there are a whole bunch of issues to take with this scheming:

1. If I'm a season-ticket holder for any playoff contender I'm rightfully upset. Plunking down thousands of dollars for 81 home games comes with the understanding that you're also buying the privilege of the postseason options. But now big league clubs are thumbing their noses at your investment by giving any jerk with $10 the same rights as you? Not cool.

2. You can now actually find this banner on MLB.com, instead of The Onion (where it belongs).

3. There's no mention of where these seats would be located. So you better bring your camera, because you'll probably get the chance to take a picture with Bob Uecker.

4. If it were a true futures market, there's no way a reservation for the Braves (46-33) would cost the same as the Nationals (34-45). Atlanta's reservation price would increase as their magic number goes down and Washington's would go down as they fall further out of contention. (Also, there's no way that a Game 1 should cost the same as a possible Game 7.)

But building a system that takes into account such variables would have taken time and effort. And MLB's decision to take the easy way out only makes sense, because the one thing the league will never be accused of is taking the time when starting a big cash grab.

Big BLS H/N: Walkoff Walk

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