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Quality Matchups Might Cost More

July 01, 2002|Bill Shaikin and Gary Klein

To the thousands of Dodger fans who invade Edison Field every summer, drowning out everyone else by shouting "root, root, root for the Dodgers" during the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and pledging their allegiance to the visiting team: You might pay more for your ticket next season than the Angel fan sitting near you.

The Dodgers and Angels played to sellout crowds all weekend in Anaheim, with the total attendance of 130,341 setting a record for a three-game series at Edison Field. The Angels are considering joining the growing number of major league teams charging higher ticket prices for more attractive games, said Kevin Uhlich, senior vice president of business operations.

Outside baseball, the idea of adjusting prices to consumer demand is nothing new. That's why a Saturday evening show costs more than a matinee, and that's why a reserved UCLA football ticket this fall costs $25 against Colorado State, $32 against Oregon and $58 against USC.

The San Francisco Giants charge more for weekend tickets. The St. Louis Cardinals charge more to see games from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Colorado Rockies charge as many as four different prices for the same seat, depending in part on opponents, promotions and special events.

As an incentive to buy season tickets, and as a reward to loyal customers, the Angels could consider hiking prices on single-game tickets only. That's how a Dodger fan might pay more than an Angel fan for a ticket in the same section.


The Angels' Ben Weber pitched eight seasons in the minor leagues, another two in Taiwan and made his major league debut at 30. Weber, normally a setup man for closer Troy Percival, pitched three hitless innings Sunday to earn his first major league save. But, with rookie John Lackey recording his first major league victory, Weber graciously gave Lackey the game ball.

"A win trumps a save," Weber said. "Plus, I can always go into the ball bag, get another ball and pretend it was that ball. Twenty years from now, no one will realize that."


The Angels haven't had a player voted into the All-Star team in 16 years, so it's difficult to imagine that Darin Erstad will win the online fan voting for the last spot on the American League All-Star team. Erstad is one of five finalists, along with Oakland's Eric Chavez, Boston's Johnny Damon, Chicago's Magglio Ordonez and Cleveland's Jim Thome. Balloting closes Tuesday. Erstad vowed he would not log on and vote for himself.

"I get yelled at enough for not going online and checking e-mails from my friends," he said.


Shawn Wooten's rehabilitation assignment, which started Friday at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, moves today to triple-A Salt Lake. The first baseman-designated hitter is expected to join the Angels after the All-Star break.


The Dodgers collide with the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight in the first game of a three-game series between the National League West rivals, but the Dodgers might not be at full strength because of two collisions during the interleague series against the Angels.

Shawn Green was penciled into the lineup as the designated hitter Sunday at Edison Field, but he was scratched shortly before the first pitch because of a jammed left thumb suffered in Saturday night's defeat.

Green said he injured the thumb when he collided with Dave Roberts while chasing a first-inning fly ball hit by Scott Spiezio. Roberts made the catch.

"It was sore last night," Green said. "I went down and started swinging in the cage [Sunday] and I knew I wouldn't be able to go out and be effective in the game.

"I'm going to wait and see how I feel. As soon as I'm able to contribute, I'll be back in the lineup. Hopefully, that will be [tonight]."

On Sunday, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek suffered a slight concussion after his head collided with right fielder Brian Jordan's knee on a seventh-inning fly ball hit by David Eckstein. Jordan made the catch.

Grudzielanek stayed in the game after the collision but was replaced in the eighth inning.

"I called him off at the last minute and he tried to get out of the way, but he couldn't," said Jordan, a former NFL defensive back.

Grudzielanek, who is listed as day-to-day, said he did not lose consciousness, but closed his eyes after the hit and was, "seeing lights."

"I feel it right between the temples--it's kind of pounding," Grudzielanek said. "You don't want to get hit by that guy. He's used to doing that."


Dodger left-hander Omar Daal, who is nursing a slight left groin strain, threw a bullpen session and felt no ill effects.

Manager Jim Tracy said, "everything points to him taking the ball for us," Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.


After his team reached the official halfway mark of the season, Tracy said he was pleased with his team's performance through 81 games.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of at 50-31," Tracy said. "We turn the page and start a new month. We have a big series coming up, we're in first place and we don't have a lot to hang our heads about, that's for sure."


Opponent--Arizona Diamondbacks, three games.

Site--Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix.


TV--Fox Sports Net 2.

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

Records--Dodgers 50-31, Diamondbacks 48-32.

Record vs. Diamondbacks--3-3.



(8-5, 3.55 ERA)



(12-2, 2.38 ERA)

Update--The Dodgers play seven of their next 11 games against the defending World Series champions. Nomo is 6-0 in his last eight starts with a 3.20 earned-run average. Johnson, who gave up three hits in eight innings against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, has 3,567 strikeouts, only seven shy of tying Hall of Famer Don Sutton for sixth on the all-time list.

Tuesday, 7 p.m.--Dodgers' Omar Daal (6-3, 3.63) vs. Rick Helling (7-5, 4.35).

Wednesday, 7 p.m.--Andy Ashby (7-6, 3.36) vs. Miguel Batista (4-5, 5.03).

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