Twins fans are closely following the final week of the baseball season, with the team in contention for a playoff spot for the first time since 2010. But after four consecutive 90-loss seasons by the Twins, those same fans are still very much taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to making a financial commitment to the postseason.
Tickets for two ALDS home games (the Twins would host just two of the five games in the division series since their only route to the postseason is as a Wild Card) went on sale to the general public on Wednesday after a presale for season ticket holders.
Twins President Dave St. Peter characterized sales as “very moderate,” saying the team has sold 10,000-15,000 seats for each game. That means at least 25,000 remained for both potential playoff games.
“People are taking a very cautious approach,” St. Peter said by phone Wednesday afternoon, just as the Twins, who trail the Wild Card race by 1.5 games, began Game 1 of a crucial doubleheader at Cleveland. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that later in the week if the prospect of postseason games becomes more real you’ll see people more willing to part with cash. It’s not surprising based on other times when we’ve done this when the postseason was in doubt.”
Also working against the Twins this time around: when they made the postseason six times in nine season between 2002 and 2010, they were guaranteed at least two home games because the playoff format sent even a Wild Card straight into the division series (which the Twins could have been in 2006 had they not clinched the division on the final day). Now, they have the added ticket sales hurdle of not only needing to make the playoffs but also winning a one-game Wild Card game which will almost certainly be on the road just to reach the ALDS.
“I think that’s another part of it,” St. Peter said. “Who knows based on the scenario of us likely going to New York for a Wild Card game. That might add skepticism to the product.”
Still, St. Peter said he’s not as worried about selling ALDS tickets because the Twins would open that series on the road — thus allowing more time to sell home games. He’s more concerned about a possible Game 163 that could be at Target Field on Monday if there’s a tie in the Wild Card standings involving the Twins.
“The bigger issue is if we would host 163 on Monday, and those tickets would only go on sale once the game is reality,” he said. “It would be a repeat of 2009 and those would go on sale Sunday and it would be a mad dash to game time.”
Of course, St. Peter categorized that as a “good problem to have.” Game 163 against Detroit in the final season at the Metrodome in 2009 was a classic game in Twins history and had an announced crowd of more than 54,000.
St. Peter said those who buy tickets for postseason games that don’t end up happening can either get a full refund or apply the money toward 2016 season tickets.
He added that he anticipates a three-day attendance of at least 90,000 for the final home series this weekend against the Royals regardless of whether the Twins are still in the thick of the Wild Card race, with the possibility that all three could approach or reach sellouts if all the games are meaningful.