Fewer Playoff Tickets Forces Fans To Shell Out, Sue Each Other

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As the playoffs approach, postseason tickets for the Cubs and Sox have become the hot commodity around town. And if you're a fan wondering why it's so much harder to get playoff tickets this year than in previous years, there's a simple answer: the teams are releasing fewer seats than ever to the general public. Season ticket holders account for roughly 22,000 of Wrigley's 42,000 seats. Officials aren't saying how many seats were set aside for the general public (a Cubs lottery for tickets garnered over 600,000 applicants), and a growing number of seats are set aside for MLB employees, players, celebrities, and local politicians: aldermen have the option of buying "two tickets for every Cubs home playoff game at face value and can also pay for access to a Sox skybox for each game."

One place you can find tickets for the postseason is StubHub, the online ticket broker that has an official deal with Major League Baseball. In fact, when we received an email the other day informing us we hadn't been selected in the Cubs' playoff lottery, we then shortly after received an email from the Cubs pointing us to the StubHub page where the cheapest seat (as of posting time) for Game 1 next Wednesday is $115 for a standing room only ticket. As of right now, the average Cubs Divisional Series ticket price on StubHub is $490, up from $338 last year; as the Sox struggle to make the postseason, refundable tickets for their hypothetical Divisional Series games stand at $172.

This is an extra kick in the pants to fans of both teams who have paid increasingly higher ticket prices over the last several years. To anyone who follows sports closely, this is no surprise and it becomes harder to muster any outrage over it because it's become the status quo. After all, events like the Super Bowl are rarely open to real fans anymore thanks to corporate tie-ins. And those fans who do get in to such events usually pay a very high premium.

In fact, with the Cubs fielding the best team in the National League in 2008, the premium for Cubs playoffs tickets is so high that fans are suing each other over them.

Business partners Laurence Wright and Brad Ginsberg filed a lawsuit in Cook County on Thursday accusing Jerry Slavin, 84, of reneging on a promise to share playoff tickets with them. The men paid Slavin more than $15,000 earlier this year for his four regular-season seats in the first row of the upper deck and say they had a handshake deal with him for the postseason games.

Slavin, who began going to the games with his father when he was 5, denies he agreed to such terms and says he would never pass up on a chance to see the Cubs make a World Series run if his health allowed.

"I've been a Cubs fan and a ticket goer almost all my life," said Slavin, who says he was a newlywed and couldn't afford to attend the 1945 World Series. "These are my tickets."

There are similar situations playing out all over the city as people who split season ticket packages are figuring out the best way to divvy up playoff tickets. And as the Cubs (hopefully) close in on their first trip to a World Series in 63 years, it's only going to get uglier and ticket prices will only go higher. This leads us to offer up one simple solution: give them to us.

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