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Selling the hottest ticket in town - Game 1 of the World Series - isn't so easy.
Published Oct. 23, 2008

Mark Williams called up his old friend Jim Hickey a few days back, just to catch up.

The fact that Hickey is the pitching coach of the World Series-bound Tampa Bay Rays may have played some role in the timing of this phone call.

"I left him a long message," Williams said. "Buttered him up."

Now here comes the pitch: "Oh, and by the way," Williams added. "My son and I can't buy tickets."

Get in line, pal.

Which is exactly what Williams did Wednesday, along with everyone else who wanted the hottest ticket in town: Game 1 of the World Series at Tropicana Field.

But things weren't so hot for the people here to sell those tickets: scalpers.

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The hardened stares, the nervous manner, always having to hold your hand up in the air.

For a crowd that gets together at the most glamorous and exciting events, they sure don't seem to enjoy themselves.

But then they're here to work. They are scalpers, and they came to this busy stretch of Central Avenue between 11th and 13th streets S to re-sell tickets.

Business, though, isn't what it used to be.

"This is the worst year to have the World Series," said budding scalper Alberto Miranda, 25.

Scalpers here had a lot to grumble about: the economy, the matchup, the Dow, the fans, online auctions, the baseball market here - basically, everything.

Early morning seemed the best time for scalpers. But time passed, and it became a buyer's market.

Miranda and a friend spent about $5,000 for 12 tickets online, hoping to score a profit.

"Now we're hoping to break even," Miranda said.

Staff photographer Kainaz Amaria contributed to this report.