Firefighter offers firehouse tour for World Series tickets
The Oregon firefighter grew up watching Cubs games on television with his dad
By Don Babwin
CHICAGO — Fans hoping to see the Cubs play in the World Series for the first time since 1945 are finding a seat could cost them more than what their grandparents paid for their houses.
The euphoria from Saturday night's victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers gave way Monday to the realization that history doesn't come cheap.
Wrigley Field box seats on ticket-selling sites such as StubHub were $50,000 and up, with one seller asking $100,000 for a seat and another asking for just under $1 million. But there are lots of box seat tickets in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Tickets to just get into the park and stand behind those with actual seats were going for more than $2,200 each. List prices for World Series tickets at Wrigley range from $85 to $565, according to Major League Baseball figures.
World Series tickets are costing a lot more in Cleveland, too — well above the $83 to $750 list price range that MLB provided for Progressive Field — but are not as expensive as those in Chicago. And there are indications that Cubs fans, getting a look at what they would pay at Wrigley versus Progressive, are buying two tickets: one for a plane and one for a game.
Ticket brokers were being flooded with calls from fans looking for tickets and, as of Monday, they were willing to pay as much as $12,000, said Dan Makras of Classic Tickets in Chicago. But he said prices might climb because Cubs fans are proving to be reluctant to sell no matter how much money they're offered.
"People have waited so long for this," he said.
How long? Well, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series, a ticket in the upper grandstand was $6.
That pent-up desire might explain why more than 2.6 million people — about the population of Chicago — signed up for a drawing for a chance to buy the few thousand tickets the Cubs are now selling themselves.
Fans with more creativity than luck or money are making some unusual pitches to pry tickets from the hands of their owners.
In Southern California, Annie Coffman posted on Craigslist an offer to exchange no fewer than two tickets for a week at her ski cabin near Big Bear Lake. "Rental for a week is about $9,000," said Coffman, who grew up near Chicago. Not only that, but her sister owns a ski cabin near Lake Tahoe and would be willing to sweeten the offer.
"If someone wants to make it a whole tour of California, we could do that," Coffman said.
Jesse Altig, a firefighter in Portland, Oregon, who grew up watching Cubs games on television with his dad in the 1980s, also took to Craigslist. He placed an ad offering to take whoever gives him a ticket on a tour that includes Mt. Hood, the coast of the Pacific Ocean and the fire station where he works.
"I am a regular guy with a family and mortgage and these prices for tickets are kind of astronomical," Altig said. "Maybe there's somebody looking for an experience versus a monetary gain."
Some Chicago fans apparently are going with Plan B and heading to Cleveland.
Cameron Popp of StubHub said a quarter of the tickets being sold on the site for Game 1 in Cleveland on Tuesday are being paid for with credit cards associated with Illinois ZIP codes. In comparison, only about 2 percent of the sales to Game 3 at Wrigley are coming from Ohio.
No wonder. Papp said the average ticket price for Game 1 is about $1,000.
Such a bargain does not tempt Tom Wilbeck of Chicago.
"Tickets to Wrigley are three times as much and I asked myself if the experience is three times as cool," said Wilbeck, who is willing to go as high as $20,000 for two Chicago at-home tickets. "And the answer is yes. So many people died wishing the Cubs would win the World Series at Wrigley and you can't let this pass you by."