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All-Stars’ injuries cause scalper pain

SHARE All-Stars’ injuries cause scalper pain

ATLANTA — While Mark McGwire stayed home with a sore knee and Barry Bonds sat out with a broken thumb, All-Star ticket scalpers were feeling the most pain Tuesday night.

Ticket sellers attracted little interest in the streets around Turner Field an hour before the game, and several speculated that an absence of marquee players was putting a damper on business.

McGwire, Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken Jr., Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez all sat out with injuries — putting a potential crimp in the game's walk-up appeal.

One scalper with six $150 tickets said he had hoped to sell each for $200. After standing on a corner outside the park for 40 minutes and receiving no offers, he said he'd be happy to break even.

Kurt Blumthal, a mortgage banker from Atlanta and Braves season-ticket holder, arrived three hours before game time to sell two $150 tickets for a friend. Although Blumthal said he was confident that he could sell the tickets at face value, he expected scalpers to take a hit.

"The season-ticket holders and corporate sponsors don't care," Blumthal said. "They're here to socialize and have fun. But with so many starters out, it might hurt the scalpers."

Georgia has a strict anti-scalping law. Tickets can be resold, but only at prices equal to or less than face value, although licensed brokers are allowed to add a service charge, said a spokesman for the state attorney general's office.

Of the 50,000 seats at Turner Field, baseball made 30,000 available to Braves' season-ticket holders and had a 12,000 allotment for corporate sponsors, TV partners, licensees, players and the media. The other 8,000 tickets went on sale to the general public.

Braves season-ticket holders bought a strip of tickets that included seats for the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday and the Home Run Derby as well as the All-Star Game.

"It isn't just the game anymore," said baseball spokesman Pat Courtney. "There's several days of events now."

Gary Adler, spokesman for the National Association of Ticket Brokers, said most All-Star Game tickets are sold so far in advance, the absence of McGwire, Griffey and other star players would have a negligible impact on the overall crowd.

"Most people come for the hoopla," Adler said, "and they buy the tickets before anybody knows who's playing. The All-Star Game is never a big walk-up event."