Shortly after the Cardinals' debut at the new Busch Stadium sold out, the Internet scalping derby commenced. The online ticket bazaar StubHub.com reports that one fan paid nearly $1,400 to see to see the Birds beat the Brewers last Monday. A handful of others parted with upward of a grand, and the average seat sold on the site went for $263.
That was by far the spendingest opening day in the big leagues this year. Chicago placed a distant second, with the privilege of witnessing the 2006 debut of the world champion White Sox going for an average of $186 a pop.
Missouri law prohibits reselling sports tickets for more than face value (plus a "service charge"). Stub Hub doesn't enforce the ordinance and sellers mostly ignore it. eBay, however, attaches warnings about Missouri's law to each auction post, prompting many laptop entrepreneurs to incorporate creative hocking techniques in order to satisfy the state's loophole that seemingly permits the practice commonly known as "bundling." "This auction is for my personel [sic] autograph," wrote a regular Joe from Lewisville, Texas. "If purchased, you will get two (2) tickets...for free. Law, it's what you make of it." Joe made $575 of it.
Other offerings included Mark McGwire bobblehead dolls, '80s-era packages of Topps baseball cards (gum included), batting-practice jerseys and a gift certificate to Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood, each bundled with tickets and going for hundreds of dollars.
Prices at Craigslist.com weren't so exorbitant. In fact, if you were a pretty young thing, you might have gone for free. "Here is the deal," one anonymous poster wrote. "I was looking forward to another wonderful season watching the Cardinals with my wife of 16 years. But on Friday, she had me served with divorce papers and informed me she has been having an affair with one of the partners of my firm and is leaving me for him.
"I want to get back at her so bad," he went on. "Nothing would be better than to go to this week's games (including Opening Day) with a gorgeous young lady hanging on my arm."
Specifically, he was looking for someone age 26 to 35, slender and endowed. "She will be there with my (former) partner 2 rows away so it would be nice if you acted like you were really into me," he added.