Fans Fleeing High-Priced Mets Tickets, Too?

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Mets tickets for April and May went on "presale" today to the lucky few — that is, anyone on the Mets email list — allowing the great unwashed to get their first look at what it'll be like to get into the team's new, downsized home. Let's roll the dice and play Mets ticket roulette:

• Citi Field's 42,000 seats have been divided into a daunting 28 price categories, which when combined with the Mets' five different game levels (from "Platinum" for the Subway Series to "Value" for Tuesday nights against the Marlins) create an incredible 140 different ticket prices.

• Flushing nights in April and May providing a good imitation of the South Col, let's try for a Sunday afternoon game against the Nationals, a Bronze selection. Promenade Boxes, the new term for the front of the upper deck, are only $28 — but they're sold out. As are the $20 Promenade Reserved Infield seats. A handful of $15 tickets are available, if you don't mind sitting in the last section of the outfield upper deck, seats so bad they didn't even exist at Shea. • Other Saturday and Sunday games produce the same message for almost all tickets under $30: "Unable to secure seats in this Price Level." You can, however, get tickets in the Caesar's Club Platinum section in the second deck — for only $140 a pop. (That's for the Nats; to see, say, the Diamondbacks, it'll run you $210.) Same goes for other premium sections, no matter what day of the week.

• Once you've made your selection, prepare yourself to dig even deeper for a $6-per-ticket online fee, plus a $5 "order charge." Total to sit in the "Left Field Landing Gold" (read: second deck in fair territory in left) for a Nats game: $113 for two tickets.

What's going on here, it seems fair to speculate, is much the same as what's going on at that other new baseball palace in the Bronx: Buyers of ticket plans are fleeing the high-priced sections for the cheaper options in the upper deck, leaving little left over for single-game buyers. (To be fair, you can still find cheap seats to weeknight games in April, if you don't need your fingertips.) The way the economy is going, both the Mets and Yankees may end up needing to offer discounts on their pre-Lehman-priced premium seats — or face the possibility of the TV cameras showing large swathes of emptiness down by the field, while fans are packed into steerage above, as is already starting to happen in other sports.

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