Speedometer

This month, FC throws some statistical curveballs on the business of baseball: from the numbers behind its class system to the card that boasts a $1.27 million price tag.

More Than a Game?

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona."
- George F. Will

"I see great things in baseball. It's our game — the American game."
- Walt Whitman

"I never realized how boring this game really is."
- Homer Simpson (at a baseball game, after he gave up drinking)

$1.27 million

Baseball Bubble In the go-go days of 2000, a 40-year-old nondotcom millionaire paid a record $1.27 million (on eBay) for a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card. Why was the card so expensive? Because it involved more than baseball. Wagner, who was one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, asked the American Tobacco Co., which had issued the card, to pull his picture shortly after it was printed, because he did not like the idea of hawking tobacco to kids. There's no word on his views about overpriced sneakers.

How Much is a Ticket?

If the game is at Shea, the answer depends on who's playing — and what day it is.

$53.00

Box seats under the Mets' Gold Plan, which applies to opening day, weekend games against good teams, and any game where Barry Bonds shows up. (Cheap seats: $16.)

$48.00

Box seats under the Silver Plan, which includes weekend games against middling teams and weekday games against good teams. (Cheap seats: $14.)

$43.00

The Bronze Plan is for midweek games against so-so teams and weekends with the losers. (Cheap seats: $12.)

$38.00

The Value Plan covers 16 dud dates. (Cheap seats: $8.)

Baseball's Class System

Upper Class: New York Yankees Middle Class: Oakland Athletics Lower Class: Montreal Expos
Player Compensation $117,936,000 $43,821,000 $37,676,000
Revenue from media-broadcasting rights $56,750,000 $9,458,000 $536,000
Profit/loss before revenue sharing $40,859,000 ($7,113,00) ($38,519,000)

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