The World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals recently announced a slight increase in select ticket prices for 2012, after coming off an improbable title run....

The World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals recently announced a slight increase in select ticket prices for 2012, after coming off an improbable title run.

Renewals for season ticket holders were mailed out earlier this week, and they include an average price increase of nearly 3 percent. This past season, the Cardinals had the eighth-highest average ticket price ($31.17) in Major League Baseball, according to Team Market Report.

The Diamond Box seats right behind the dugouts at Busch Stadium will have the biggest price hike, going from $61.50 to $67.

Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt III told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that those seats were averaging $97 last season on StubHub.com, which the team used as part of the justification for the increase.

Seats down the first- and third-base lines, which were $56 last season, will go up by $1. Those tickets averaged $71 on the resale market last season, according to DeWitt.

The increases come after the team had an off-year at the gate during the regular season. The Cardinals drew just under 3.1 million fans in 2011, a new low for the third incarnation of Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006.

The team averaged 38,197 per home game — down from 40,756 in 2010 — but the number was still the third-best in the National League.

Even with a World Series title to defend, the team is faced with a potentially difficult off-season. Manager Tony LaRussa retired, and superstar first baseman Albert Pujols could command one of the richest contracts in baseball history as a free agent.

In the past, the Cards had used the uniform numbers of Pujols (5) and manager Tony La Russa (10) for their five- and 10-game “Pujols Pack” and “La Russa Pack” ticket packages.

With La Russa now retired and Pujols’ return uncertain, the team said it will go with theme ticket packs based on a World Series-related giveaway (replica rings or flags). Additionally, the team is considering building ticket packages around Opening Day and holidays.