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Saturday, March 29

CHICAGO (AP) -- It will cost a lot more to root, root, root for the home team this year. Major League Baseball's average ticket price increased 10.9 percent this season to $25.40, the Team Marketing Report said Friday. That's the steepest increase since a 12.9 rise in 2001.

The World Series champion Red Sox, playing in the major leagues' smallest ballpark, have the highest average at $48.80, up 10.1 percent.

The Chicago Cubs, 100 years removed from their last World Series title, are second at $42.49, up 23.9 percent.

The Yankees, in their final season at Yankee Stadium, have the third-highest average ticket at $36.58, up a big league high 26.1 percent. The Yankees' real average is much higher.

Jon Greenberg, TMR's executive editor, said the team did not provide data and that he did not include the price of premium seating -- which covers a large percentage of New York's tickets. Yankees' box seats near the infield had a list price of $250 this year.

The Mets, in their final season at Shea Stadium, have the fourth-highest average at $34.05, an increase of 20.5 percent. The Chicago White Sox are fifth at $30.28, up 5.2 percent.

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Twelve teams raised their averages more than 10 percent, including six with average hikes of more than 20 percent.

NL West champion Arizona has the lowest average at $15.96, even with a 15.7 percent increase. Atlanta was 29th at $17.05 and Pittsburgh 28th at $17.07.

Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay ($17.23) were the only teams with no increase in their average.

TMR's fan cost index went up 8.3 percent to $191.75. The figure includes two adult tickets at the average price, two child tickets at the average if available, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult caps. The index ranged from $320.71 at Fenway Park to $136.91 in Tampa Bay.

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