from Associated Press, October 18, 2002
What Would You Offer For World Series Tickets?
Creative Offers From Desperate Fans Give Scalping New Meaning
If you've got some unwanted World Series tickets, why unload them for just a few thousand bucks?
Some ticket holders are offering trades for a Mercedes, a job offer, or even a supply of healthy sperm.
Or maybe you need tickets?
Demand is intense, so you'd better offer something good to compete with these deals: a week at a Caribbean beach house, 50 hours of professional massage, or the services of "a very experienced, skilled defense attorney."
Every World Series generates a frenzy for seats. What makes the Giants-Angels affair unusual is that, thanks to the Internet, scalping has gone from straightforward price-gouging to a bizarre public swap meet.
Street hustlers will still be at the games, offering outrageous prices. But for real jawdroppers, check out Craigslist, an online bulletin board based in San Francisco.
The first game in San Francisco isn't slated until Tuesday, and by Friday morning there were more than 1,000 postings for tickets.
It's the Internet, so not everything is what it seems. Still, the postings reflect a sellers-market delirium not seen since the antics of desperate apartment seekers during the crunch of the Bay Area's dot-com boom.
At face value, the best tickets at both Pacific Bell Park and Edison Field are worth $175. But most offers in the Los Angeles Times classifieds asked at least $500.
The ticketless have offered everything from professional services (wedding videography and new hardwood floors are among the legal ones) to earthly possessions (plane tickets, wine, gourmet meals) to dates ("WILL DO ANYTHING ... I MEAN ANYTHING TO GO.")
One even offered a healthy kidney, so long as the ticket holder paid all operation costs.
Jennifer Murnin, 37, a massage therapist from Sonoma County, was hoping some stressed fan would trade two tickets for 50 hours of rubdowns -- a $2,500 value.
"There's more people that need massages today than need a healthy kidney, so I'm optimistic," she said. By Friday morning, she said she had a few feelers from ticket holders.
"This is definitely the hottest ticket that we've ever experienced," said Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist.
On the flip side, ticket holders were no less creative.
"I am currently trying to get pregnant and for reasons that are none of your business," wrote one woman, willing to give up upper-deck seats for healthy sperm, a donation that would "positively NOT be made the 'old-fashioned way."'
Another poster wanted a Mercedes for their six Game 4 tickets. Too bad a 1993 Toyota Tercel wouldn't do -- one was on offer.
Jeff Bloszies, 41, said he would trade tickets for a job -- and got two offers he could clearly refuse, at a pizza franchise in Florida and a sales post in Yellowknife, Canada.
It was partly a lark, he said, but the fact is, his corporate development job is about to end and he has three kids. "It's one of these things, you're sitting around thinking, I sent out a bunch of resumes and got nothing back."
The highest offer that attracted bids on the Internet auction site eBay was for two Game 6 tickets behind home plate in Anaheim -- asking price $8,000. For a game that might not happen.
Indeed, Angels fans are whipping themselves into a frenzy as well.
A Los Angeles country music station received more than 200 responses for a giveaway to this weekend's Anaheim games.
Two winners were selected by KZLA-FM studio audience members Friday:
Melanie Werner of Los Angeles shaved her head and donated her shoulder-length blonde hair to a charity that provides wigs to chemotherapy patients. Gabby Macal of Anaheim covered herself in pancake syrup, rolled herself in red feathers and stood outside the station's offices during morning traffic, holding a sign that read "Angels .1 KZLA .1."
Are tickets so hot that it takes a stunt -- or a fistful of cash -- to score?
Sob story appeals to take a disabled relative or rescue a sad soul from his solitude seem to fall flat.
Lewis Salzman, 47, promised his New York uncle Eddy -- a Giant fan for 60 years -- that he'd get a ticket.
Salzman posted an emotional appeal on Craigslist, but got back only an automated response with a link to eBay: two bleacher seats for $900.
"There's a huge number of these sentimental seekers and we're not really getting anywhere," Salzman said. "I think there's too much greed."