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Derek Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays Season Ticket Sales

First up, a piece on Derek Rodriguez, with the most eyebrow raising part being:

The interesting part about the puzzle is the fact the Rays liked Rodriguez enough to risk $50,000 that he can stick with the club for the entire 2009 season.

I know we're not talking about the Yankees or Red Sox here, but is 50k really a big risk? Perhaps not for long...

Last year, only the Florida Marlins sold fewer season tickets, said Mark Fernandez, Rays senior vice president and chief sales officer.

In August the Rays launched its “Feel the Heat” campaign to tie in playoff tickets to future season ticket sales, and now the team has converted more than three quarters of the deposits collected to season ticket packages.

Fernandez declined to give exact numbers of deposits or current season ticket holders, but sources close to the team said that 2009 sales would be the largest since 1998, the Rays first season.

That's excellent news. We've beat the sustaining income idea to death, and I'm not going to do it again, but this is a step in the right direction towards burying the attendance talk.