Buy six months ago now case of bad timing

Updated: September 16, 2004, 12:03 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Spending nearly $25,000 for baseball tickets seemed like a worthy investment to Michael Mahan, considering the 700th home run ball crushed by Barry Bonds will likely fetch a much higher price.

But it appears Bonds will reach that historic milestone in the coming days so Mahan, a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, has been selling most of those tickets in the right-field pavilion at Dodger Stadium.

Mahan has required every ticket buyer to sign an eight-page contract compelling them to hand over to him any Bonds home run ball they might catch. He would then sell the ball and split the money evenly with the fan who caught it, according to the contract.

Mahan, 28, decided six months ago to purchase every seat in the Bonds-friendly section of Dodger Stadium for two of the last three games against the San Francisco Giants in October. He was hoping that Bonds would join only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in the 700 home run club.

Mahan has been reselling most of the 6,458 tickets for as much as $15 each -- much more than the $3.50 the Dodgers front office gave him as part of a standard group-discount rate.

"An individual found a way to manipulate the system, and it won't happen again," Gary Miereanu, the Dodgers' vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

Mahan said he sold tickets through his Web site at $15 each and said he sold 3,000 tickets to a broker for less than $15 each but declined to disclose the exact price. He donated 400 tickets to charity and said he gave about 300 to family and friends.

"I haven't done the numbers. I'm not going to lose money," he said.

Mahan, an investment banker, has even taken it one step further. He has required every ticket buyer to sign an eight-page contract compelling them to hand over to him any Bonds home run ball they might catch. He would then sell the ball and split the money evenly with the fan who caught it, according to the contract.

The only people in the right-field pavilion free of legal constraints at the two games will be Mahan's parents, two sisters and 8-year-old brother.

"If one of them gets it, I'm just as happy," Mahan said. "I'm sure they'll want to give it to me."

The Dodgers have threatened to let fans into the right-field pavilion for free if 20 percent or more of Mahan's seats are unoccupied on the game days.

"It's irrelevant because they're going to be 100 percent full," Mahan said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press