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That's because the 57-year-old vendor, who has been selling various items at Cubs and White Sox games since 1965, knows that Mark Buehrle is pitching for the White Sox in Game 2.
Buehrle is the eighth fastest pitcher in the American League, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Games he has started have averaged 2 hours and 41 minutes. That's six minutes longer than league leader Carlos Silva of the Minnesota Twins and eight minutes shorter than the league average.
"Sometimes you look up and we're through two or three innings in the time it usually takes to get through one inning," said Rutzky, who sold beer for the game against the Seattle Mariners when a Buehrle game was completed in a blistering 1 hour and 39 minutes, the shortest White Sox game since 1984.
Fast is trouble for vendors, who unlike many that they serve, appreciate the extra throws to first base, the meandering about on the mound in between pitches and the impromptu pitcher-catcher conferences.
"A concessionaire's dream is a nice, slow, long game with a two-hour rain delay in the third inning," said Rick Abramson, a former vendor who is now president of Sportservice, which controls the concessions at U.S. Cellular Field. "Obviously, the longer you have to sell, the more you can sell."
Sportservice chief operating officer Jim Houser notes that Buehrle joins a select group of fast-work pitchers including Jim Kaat, who was the last White Sox left-hander to win 20 games (1974 and '75).
Rutzky says he's not sure what to expect financially from Game 2 sales. The White Sox averaged 28,924 fans per game this year, but will pack in about 41,000 per game for the World Series games in the Windy City. That means that there will be more people to sell to, but Rutzky says that will be counterbalanced somewhat by more vendors being in the stands. He also says that while fans attending World Series games likely have a higher disposable income than fans attending average games, "the people attending these games probably don't want to drink as much."
In Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Red Sox, vendors in Chicago sold 11,772 cans of Miller Genuine Draft and Miller Lite, which is reportedly twice the amount sold at an average regular-season game.
"The good thing about Buehrle is that he has to pitch against someone else," Rutzky said. "Let's hope the White Sox can start some rallies."
Brad Lidge-signed 2005 World Series Ball -- $99
Roy Oswalt-signed 2005 World Series Ball -- $139
Team-signed 2005 World Series Ball -- $1,299
Team-signed 16 by 20 photo -- $1,299
Team-signed Astros jersey -- $1,750
Mintz said the response from Astros fans has been great but admits that he's not sure what the demand will be before the team wins anything. "We're all Astros fans here, but we have to take the emotion out of it because this is a business," Mintz said. "We have to remember the Astros are more of a regional team than the Red Sox were last year."
Tri-Star has an exclusive autograph deal with Astros pitcher Roger Clemens.
|Avg. American salary||$4,743||$39,795|
|Avg. MLB player's salary||$16,977||$2,632,655|
|Hot dog||25 cents||$3.75|
I'm still not convinced it's the bat. The reason Babe Ruth's bat sold for $1.265 million in December was because the story -- that he used this wood to hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium -- was perfect. This story is significantly harder to prove. The bat's history is held together by one particular story which explains why the bat, supposedly used throughout Jackson's career, has a 1919 marking on it. For more on this story, check out the piece I wrote on the bat when it was first being auctioned.
Darren Rovell is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.