It’s not quite David versus Goliath, but it’s as close as we’ll come in the MLB playoffs this season. In one corner, you have the St. Louis Cardinals led by 32-year-old pitcher Adam Wainwright, a 6’7″ bruiser with a 2.94 ERA, striking out 219 batters over 241.2 innings pitched in 2013. In the other corner, you have the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates led by fresh-faced Gerrit Cole, a 23-year-old fastball pitcher making just his 21st big league start. He throws rockets first and asks questions later. It’s the vet versus the rookie. The 2011 World Series winners versus the 2013 folk heroes. The question is, are the Bucs a Cinderalla team reaching midnight in Game 5? Or can they fell their giant (pitching) foe?
Understandably, the average ticket price for tonight’s Cardinals-Pirates NLDS Game 5 has shot up more than 40 percent since the Cardinals’ Game 4 win on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. The average resale price was $77 per ticket for Game 1 and $89 per ticket for Game 2 of the series last week. For Game 5, tickets are selling on the secondary market for an average of $162 each. In other words, you could have gone to both games last week for just$4 more on average than it will cost you to buy a ticket for tonight’s game. That’s a lot of pirate gold. To put those numbers in further perspective, the average resale price for a regular season Cardinals game this season was $51 per ticket. Tickets for Game 5 are selling on the secondary market today for more than three times that. That’s, uh, crazy.
Oh wait, there’s more: right now on SeatGeek the cheapest ticket available for Game 5 is $84 for standing room only, but we’ve seen fans pay as much as $1,500 per ticket for box seats behind home plate. OK, I take it back – that is crazy. Still, if you’re a Bucs fan, I suppose this is the game to spend that kind of change. Game 5 is the Pirates’ World Series. Lose it, and the 2013 team will still be remembered as the team that reinvigorated a disenchanted fan base. But win it, and they’ll be legends. Out of all the playoffs since 1992, the Bucs have an opportunity to do something tonight no one in Pittsburgh will ever forget.