by Simon Jones
Last week, I found myself in a tougher negotiation than I have faced in a long time. The foe I encountered was as unyielding as any I had encountered and harder to read than any I had faced previously in my time as the Trade Counsel. For once though, I wasn’t facing a human adversary, and it wasn’t related to fantasy baseball. The challenge I faced was from the Olympic ticket booking system!
For those who don’t know, I’m a Brit, and for us Brits the 2012 Olympics is a big deal. When the initial ticket lottery was released, there was so little information released (about ticket tiers and quantities or the system itself), that it was impossible to make an informed decision and so millions of people were left disappointed – myself included. Last week, a limited number of tickets were made available for those who missed out the first time around.
Surprisingly it appeared that there were some athletics finals tickets available when I logged in. Hope soon turned to frustration, as the tickets at the lower price ranges were not available (contrary to the information when you submitted your request). As I submitted subsequent requests, the wait time grew ever longer (5 minutes to 10 minutes to 20 minutes). Partly out of frustration, I decided to see if there was any availability at the much higher price range. Another 15 minutes went by and then I was given the option to purchase.
At that point a serious decision had to be made. These tickets were at least twice as much as I wanted to pay (actually closer to three times). I had to weigh up whether I really wanted them that much. Alternatively, I had already wasted over an hour pursuing tickets and had no idea whether there were any cheaper tickets available. How much longer would I be prepared to waste and would I regret it if these tickets weren’t available later. In the end I took the plunge and I’m now the proud owner of two tickets to the session that includes the men’s 200m and 800m track finals. More importantly, I don’t regret the choice for a moment.
In the aftermath of my battle with the ticketing system, I began to see a lot of parallels with baseball trading. The initial low-ball offers getting rebuffed, and then with time closing in, the decision on how much you want or need a deal and whether you are prepared to pay full value, or even over that value, for what you need. It is that decision over the maximum you would pay for a player that is the key moment in any trade. Of course, I would hope that any future trades I negotiate have a guy on the other side that is willing to compromise to a certain degree, something that the ticketing system definitely didn’t do.
It has been a few weeks since my last update. I am just about maintaining my lead in the league with 117 points, only just ahead of the Unablohmer (managed by Jared Blohm) on 115.5, with three other teams over the 100 point mark.
My most recent deal was with Stat Attack, managed by Mike Saczynski. It was me trading away Freddie Freeman, Dustin Ackley, John Danks and Jon Rauch for Anibal Sanchez and Howard Kendrick.
My main driver on the deal was to get Sanchez. He’s pitched excellently this year, but lack of run support has depressed the number of wins he’s gotten. I got hit by some injuries early in the year and I lag way behind in ERA and WHIP, despite having a decent pitching staff (on paper at least). I like Freeman a lot, but I felt he was close to the peak of his value (which I may get proven wrong on), and I have plenty of hitting at the present plus Youkilis coming off the DL today. I’m at the top (or very close) on all the hitting categories so this made sense, especially as I feel the Angels offence can only improve and Kendrick’s numbers should be significantly better than Ackley by the end of the year.
Of course, since then Danks has pitched better and Ackley started to steal bases, so it could backfire on me! As usual, that is the beauty of a trade like this, and time will tell if I made the right move.
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