Apparently, the price tag for witnessing history isn’t what it used to be.
With Barry Bonds still sitting at 713 home runs after the Giants’ 8-1 loss to the visiting Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, the scalpers trolling the streets outside AT&T Park figured to be one group of San Franciscans benefiting from the drawn-out process of making history.
Demand for tickets has soared whenever Bonds has approached a hallmark homer in the past, and most scalpers reasoned that a chance for San Francisco’s seven-time MVP to catch and surpass Babe Ruth and his 714 career home runs would be no different.
"You’d definitely think that, wouldn’t you?" one scalper asked rhetorically. "But [the secondhand ticket market] actually isn’t nearly as good right now as it had been over the last couple years.
"People aren’t begging to get in the door just for the chance to be there like they used to."
One scalper reported selling a pair of field-level tickets for more than $350 a seat. Most, though, agreed that the market was clearly down from the levels it reached during Bonds’ pursuit of his 500th, 600th and 700th career home runs.
On the streets outside AT&T Park, the going price for a single bleacher seat seemed to peak 30 minutes before the first pitch at $45 — with most scalpers asking for prices at or around face value.
Theories about the decrease in demand for last-minute tickets varied quite a bit. The Giants’ "way-too-functional" online secondhand ticket system, the visibility of kayakers and the team’s recent struggles on the field were all popular complaints from scalpers.
All agreed that Bonds’ alleged transgressions off the field deserved a large portion of the blame.
"If people do come down now, they’re just doing it for a chance to catch the ball. So they cansell it!" longtime Giants fan and avid Bonds-detractor Stacy Drummond said. "It’s not about history anymore. No one cares about watching the game and seeing him break the record. So they don’t need to pay a ton for tickets. People just go out [to right field], or rent a kayak and try to catch a hundred thousand dollars."
The gathering beyond Levi’s Landing in right field did seem to swell from its surprisingly small Tuesday night showing. Some 30 divers, 40 kayakers and 10 netters waited patiently for the home run that, once again, didn’t come.