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MLB, StubHub renew secondary ticket market deal

MLB, StubHub renew secondary ticket market deal

CHICAGO (AP) Major League Baseball Advanced Media and StubHub.com announced a new five-year deal Monday that continues the website's role as the official secondary ticket market for the sport while eliminating the cheap listings that had become an eyesore for some clubs.

The minimum price for baseball tickets on StubHub in 2013 will be $6, a far more appealing number for the league after some seats were listed for pocket change during the first five-year deal that expired after this past season.

The $6 ticket includes commissions and the delivery fee for the website, which previously charged customers at least $10.40 after they selected their seats.

``The bottom line is that we felt like for both our fans and for our teams there was an optics issue,'' StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said. ``In other words, there was a lot of chatter about .99 tickets, cheap tickets, and the reality is that's not what the ticket was selling for.''

StubHub calls including the fees in the ticket listing an ``all-in pricing model,'' and Lehrman said the San Francisco-based company has been testing the system on the website all year long, mostly with Major League Soccer games. The plan is to implement the new format across the site by the end of 2013.

Bob Bowman, the CEO of MLBAM, the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, praised StubHub for working with them to address their concerns. But the changes weren't enough for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs, three teams that opted out of the deal.

``We're continuing to explore our options in the secondary ticket market,'' said Julian Green, the vice president for communication and community affairs with the Cubs.

The Yankees and Angels are working with Ticketmaster on a new arrangement, according to a person familiar with the situation, and will announce their plan in a few weeks. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

Fans will still be able to purchase tickets for the three missing teams on StubHub. The biggest difference involves the sellers, who will have to type in the ticket information and use a different way to get the ticket to the buyer for the home games of the Yankees, Cubs and Angels.

Bowman said he thinks the ticket integration for the teams covered by the deal is good for fans, but the decision by the three teams that opted out gives them a chance to take a look at other models for the secondary ticket market.

``They are doing what they think is in their best interests and what's in their fans' best interest and it's our job to work with them and get them to a good spot,'' he told the AP in a phone interview.

Bowman also said some teams are going to experiment with the blackout window before games. Most teams stop ticket sales on the site two hours before the game, and a handful of clubs are going to experiment with a six-hour period next year.

StubHub struck one of its first major sports deals with the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and has separate partnership agreements with about half of the 30 major league teams, covering everything from signage to promotions. It became the ``Official Fan to Fan Ticket Marketplace'' for MLB.com in 2007.

``This partnership broke new ground when it was first introduced, and it has allowed us to greatly improve the StubHub MLB fan experience,'' StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis said in a release. ``The opportunity for StubHub to continue to partner with MLBAM is something we relish, especially as we look to continuously integrate new technology that will enhance the experience, particularly on mobile devices, for baseball fans.''

Under StubHub's new pricing model, customers will pay a $2.25 delivery fee per ticket up to $10. That's compared to a flat $5.40 delivery fee before. The service fee was lowered to $3 for tickets under $50, and is a percentage of the price above that number.

``Our original StubHub partnership provided a valuable service, giving fans a secure, simple and affordable solution for the secondary market, and this renewal reflects its successes in an ever-evolving space,'' Bowman said.

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Jay Cohen can be reached athttp://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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Capitals and Islanders have produced legendary Stanley Cup playoff moments

Capitals and Islanders have produced legendary Stanley Cup playoff moments

The Capitals and Islanders have played seven times in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the eighth on tap starting Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in the midst of a pandemic.

This isn’t where we thought we’d be early in the 2019-20 NHL season. It still doesn’t seem real with neutral sites and empty buildings. But this matchup is one we thought would happen last spring. One goal was all that stood between a rematch between New York and coach Barry Trotz and the team he led to the Stanley Cup the year before. 

Alas, the Capitals gave up a goal in Game 7 at home to the Carolina Hurricanes and never got the chance. The Islanders were swept right out of the postseason and we were denied a fascinating matchup between Trotz and Todd Reirden, his assistant coach in Washington for four years.

Little did we know we just had to wait a little longer. The Capitals and Islanders have history far beyond just their coaches. Some of the NHL’s most memorable moments took place in the Stanley Cup playoffs between these Metropolitan Division rivals. Here is a look back at some of the best:

April 10, 1983
The Capitals were just happy to be here. Two years after the desperate “Save the Caps” campaign kept hockey in Washington, their first playoff series came against the three-time defending champions. The Islanders kept their crown.

The plucky Caps weren’t quite ready. But they took Game 2 at famed Nassau Coliseum and were tied 1-1 at Capital Centre in Game 4 when New York, led by Mike Bossy, scored three straight times. Washington kept fighting with a Kent Houston goal at 11:34 of the third period to make it 4-3 before the champs put them away with a second Bossy goal with 2:46 to play.  

April 16, 1985
The first true Caps playoff collapse. The two teams met in the second round of the 1984 playoffs after Washington won its first playoff series. And while the Islanders’ dynasty came to an end that year, it wouldn’t be until they were dethroned by Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers.

The old crew still had enough to dispatch the Capitals in five games. But in 1985? No that was different. An aging New York fell behind 2-0 in a best-of-five series with overtime losses at a rocking Capital Centre. This felt different. Washington was the better team during the regular season – third-best in the NHL. 

But a pair of losses at Nassau set the stage for Game 5 at Capital Centre. For the third year in a row, the Capitals fell short. A goal in the first, a goal in the second and New York was up 2-0, the crowd was tight. That’s familiar. It all started back then and took Washington another 33 years to shake the demons. A Bobby Carpenter goal 29 seconds into the third period gave the Capitals life, but veteran goalie Billy Smith stopped 39 of 40 shots. New York only had 22. The first of many shocking playoff collapses. 

RELATED: CAPS VS. ISLANDERS GAME 1 - WHAT TO EXPECT NOW THAT THE GAMES MATTER

April 18, 1987
The Easter Epic. One of the great games in NHL history. The Capitals finally beat the Islanders in the first round in 1986 in a three-game sweep. This time they were up 3-1 in a best-of-seven first-round series and headed home to finish it off. Uh oh. “3-1” and the Caps never have mixed. They have blown that lead five times now. It’s only happened 28 times in league history.

But this was the very first. A game that began on a Saturday evening, ended at 1:56 a.m. on Easter morning. It is now the 11th longest game in league history after Tuesday night's five-overtime fiasco between Tampa Bay and Columbus. They played 68:47 of overtime into Easter morning before Pat LaFontaine’s spinning shot from just inside the blueline beat Washington goalie Bob Mason, who stood in shock in the crease for 10 seconds before dropping exhausted to a knee while the Islanders celebrated. It remains one of the sport's iconic moments. 

April 28, 1993
The Capitals and Islanders needed a break from each other after playing five years in a row in the postseason. Six years later they met again under different circumstances. The 1992 Capitals had blown their second 3-1 series lead to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But they returned a solid team that finished second in the Patrick Division, a slight favorite over New York, hoping for another shot at Pittsburgh. 

Instead, an insanely frustrating series followed. The Islanders won Games 2 and 4 in double overtime and Game 3 in regular old overtime. Just like that they were up 3-1. Washington staved off elimination at home in Game 5. But Nassau Coliseum was a House of Horrors. There would be no Game 7. 

Dale Hunter opened the scoring for the Capitals in the first period. But the Islanders were up 3-1 after the second period and the old barn was roaring. Another goal made it 4-1 and with 8:31 to play, Pierre Turgeon put Washington away with a fifth goal. The crowd had been chanting “Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah, Hey-Hey-Hey, Goodbye!” The season had slipped away again. Hunter then lost his mind.

 After a Hunter turnover, Turgeon deked on goal and scored, skating with his arms raised looking up into the crowd. He never saw Hunter following him like a shark for three seconds. He never sensed the check that was about to come well after the goal that buried him into the boards. The Islanders won the series. But Turgeon missed the ensuing series against the Penguins with a separated right shoulder. New York won that anyway before its Cinderella run ended in the Eastern Conference Final against eventual champion Montreal. 

Hunter was hit with a 21-game suspension to start the following year and it’s still considered among the dirtiest hits in NHL history. 

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April 28, 2015

The Islanders and Capitals took another long break from each other but that was mostly because New York stunk. It made the playoffs just six times in the next 20 years and didn’t win a series.

That looked to change in 2015 – Trotz’s first with Washington – when a back-and-forth series with an overtime win for each team went to a Game 7. Given the Alex Ovechkin-led Caps had lost a Game 7 at home in 2008 (Flyers), 2009 (Penguins), 2010 (Canadiens) and 2013 (Rangers), the home crowd was a little tense.

 A 1-1 game for most of the third period became unbearable. It took a young Russian with a flair for the dramatic to make the difference. No, not Ovechkin. Evgeny Kuznetsov had his back to the play near the right circle against the boards, baited Frans Nielson to skate up behind him and then turned on a dime and blew toward the center of the ice. 

No one stopped him. Kuznetsov took the puck across the middle and almost down to the opposite goaline, waiting for Jaroslav Halak to sprawl to the ice – the man who stunned Washington in goal for Montreal in that crushing 2010 series. The lead held for the final 7:18 and for once a Game 7 didn’t end in tears for Capitals fans. That would happen in the second round when the Rangers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit and won Game 7 in overtime. You can’t win them all. 

Kuznetsov insisted to NBC Sports Washington's Rob Carlin this past spring that it is that Game 7 goal against New York that remains his favorite and not the Game 6 OT winner against Pittsburgh during the Stanley Cup run in 2018. Whether that's just kuzy being Kuzy, who knows? They're both epic and wonderful moments in franchise history. 

Playoff series No. 8 between the Capitals and Islanders has enough storylines to fit in a Stanley Cup Final. Let's see if they can add another memorable chapter to 37 years of history starting Wednesday afternoon. 

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Orioles win wild extra inning game 10-9 in Philadelphia

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Orioles win wild extra inning game 10-9 in Philadelphia

The Orioles’ season has been a rollercoaster of emotions on the field, from the Opening Day blowout loss against the Red Sox, to the series sweep over the Nationals held up by a malfunctioning tarp.

Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Orioles played their craziest game of the season. At least, as it related to in-game activities. 

The Orioles trailed early, rallied to tie it and later took the lead, blew the lead, took the lead again, let the Phillies tie it, then won the game off an inside-the-park home run from Austin Hays in the top of the 10th inning.

Somehow, the Orioles earned a 10-9 win over the Phillies in extra innings in a game that put the Orioles over .500 on the season.

“It felt like a boxing match, honestly, from the eighth inning on,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Felt like we gave a blow, took a blow, who could get that last out? That was the feeling. Travis Lakins came in and got the last out. This has been a very unusual year, it’s been an unusual season so far — we’ve seen some things we haven’t seen in a while. Probably won’t be the last time.”

Hyde was right when he said things happened that they, frankly, wouldn’t see for a long time again.

Hays’ inside-the-park home run gave the Orioles a 10-8 lead in the top of the 10th inning, the first team inside-the-park home run since Sept. 2011, when Robert Andino accomplished the feat.

With a runner on second base to start extra innings as part of the league’s new extra innings rule, Hays hit a sharp line drive to centerfield. There, Phillies centerfielder Roman Quinn made an aggressive play on the ball and tried to make a diving catch to prevent Andrew Velazquez, on second base, from scoring. 

Quinn’s diving attempt missed, as the ball went all the way to the wall.

“I actually didn’t think that he had any chance at all to catch it when I first hit it,” Hays said. “I thought it was going to be just a one-hop line drive to him. And I saw him start to lay out and I thought he was going to catch it. It was actually really close...I saw the ball go by him and it was off to the races after that. I was just sniffing an inside-the-parker the whole way.”

Inside the clubhouse, Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb reacted just as a fan would.

“When that pop-up dropped, I was banging on lockers,” Cobb said. “We were all screaming. We had a good group of guys in there, players that had been out of the game, and we turned into fanboys. It was awesome. Rooting hard for your guys. It’s a lot of fun to be able to watch Lakins finish it off and go high-five everybody afterward.”

Cobb threw well in 5 ⅓ innings with just three hits and two earned runs allowed, but left the game in-line for the loss after 71 pitches. The Orioles offense bailed him out in the sixth inning with three runs to tie the game. From there, it looked like the Orioles had things in order as a Hanser Alberto double and Anthony Santander single gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning. 

But home runs by Bryce Harper and Jean Segura gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead in the ninth.

The Orioles tied the game on a single from Renato Nunez, and the inning appeared to be over when Pedro Severino hit an infield pop up into the dark Philadelphia night. 

The Phillies infield, however, botched it, as a hit ball with an expected batting average of .000 according to statcast, dropped to give the Orioles a 8-6 lead.

“Probably the most up and down game I’ve been a part of in a long time,” Cobb said.

The Phillies tied the game in the ninth inning, which only seemed fair, as Hays’ inside-the-park home run an inning later lifted the Orioles to a one-run win in what was, admittedly, a game not likely to be replicated for a long time. 

But if there were a year for even crazier things to happen, it’s 2020.

“I think that game had a little bit of everything,” Hyde said. “I just told Cobb that was a great job. It feels like it was five hours ago when he pitched. I just felt like it was a gutsy performance by our club. I thought it was just a grind out mentality. I thought we had great at-bats...Just a great team win. Just a persevering, gutsy, grind out team win.”