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All-Star package prices are astronomical

Baseball’s All-Star ticket markup: 171%

Major league officials call the All-Star game one of baseball’s “jewel events,” with tickets priced accordingly. The face value for tickets to this year’s game in Anaheim ranges from $185 to $360.

Fair enough, given the demand. No one expects an All-Star ticket to cost $25. But no one should have to pay almost three times the face value in order to secure a ticket directly from Major League Baseball.

If you’re an Angels season-ticket holder, too bad. You get first shot at a ticket to the July 13 All-Star game, but only if you’re willing to buy a package that includes a ticket to the July 12 home run derby, a ticket to the July 11 Futures Game for top prospects, two tickets to the fan festival at the Anaheim Convention Center and a $12 game program. All that, and a $25 processing fee.

Total cost for a $185 All-Star game ticket: $467.

Total cost for a $360 All-Star game ticket: $977.

Baseball has sold these bundles in the last few All-Star cities, citing the expansion of All-Star attractions beyond the game itself.

“The All-Star package covers a series of events associated with the All-Star game,” Angels spokesman Tim Mead said. “Baseball has found this has worked very effectively.”

Mead wouldn’t say why, but another executive tipped us to one reason: The home run derby has become so popular that major league officials have noticed fans covering much — if not all — of their package cost by selling the ticket to the home run derby on Stub Hub.

Details on tickets for individual events will be announced Tuesday, with a limited number of All-Star game tickets expected to be available to the public via lottery.

Strasburg a hit, and gets a hit

The Washington Nationals paid handsomely for Stephen Strasburg’s powerful right arm, but he might also hold his own at the plate. Strasburg, the first pick in last year’s draft, has given up one earned run in 7 1/3 innings at double-A Harrisburg, getting 11 of 22 outs on strikeouts.

Strasburg did not bat at San Diego State, so he made sure to tell his college coach — eight-time batting champion Tony Gwynn — that he is batting .500 in the pros, with a run-scoring double in two at-bats.

“He busted my chops about not letting him hit,” Gwynn said. “But you can’t let your No. 1 guy go up there and be a target.”

The Dodgers are not scheduled to see Strasburg in Washington this week, not that he would not belong. The Nationals’ starting rotation includes AARP All-Star Livan Hernandez (16 scoreless innings this season) and four guys with these earned-run averages: 5.74, 6.35, 12.96, 15.63.

Conventional wisdom says the Nationals want to delay Strasburg’s free agency by one year, but Gwynn suspects their front office might have human nature in mind too.

“If I spent $15 million, I don’t want to be second-guessed if he does struggle,” Gwynn said.

How to keep the fans away

The Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays all announced record-low crowds last week, each selling fewer than 11,000 tickets in ballparks formerly known as baseball hotbeds.

Blue Jays President Paul Beeston had a refreshingly honest take: It’s not the fans, it’s us.

“I can’t say that I didn’t expect it,” Beeston told the Toronto Star. “We came off a bad season. We reduced our payroll. We traded our No. 1 star and we said, ‘Come on out and watch us.’ ”

— Bill Shaikin


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