A’s Get An F for shutting out seats

Unless you are an A’s fan or you happen to live in California and read the paper there, you probably don’t know about the upper deck at McAfee Coliseum.  In order to create demand the ownership of the Oakland Athletics decided this year to close the upper deck, removing 10,000 nosebleed seats from the constant surplus of tickets that Oakland usually carries in their box office.  In this deliberate move to decrease supply (and thereby creating a greater demand) the Oakland A’s have taken away the chance for thousands of Oakland fans to see the playoff games.  So far they have only cost the fans one playoff game, but is was the clinching game 3 over the Twins.  I think quite a few Athletic fans would have liked to have some "bad" tickets and to experience that moment in Oakland baseball history.

The fans are getting shafted on two levels.  One, the fact that thousands more people could experience playoff baseball, which is not easy to come by these days with 30 teams.  Second, obviously the demand of the remaining seats available has risen considerably.  Now, both of these situations will be realized even more so as the Oakland A’s host the Detroit Tigers, where at least two playoff games will be played.  The ownership of this team would rather have higher ticket prices and let thousands of fans not participate in what could be a historic year at the Coliseum.  You have to love what Oakland team spokesman Jim Young said about the closing of the upper deck: "Our goal was to create a more intimate ballpark atmosphere…" said Jim.  Okay, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  More intimate.  But what about the playoffs?  It is hard for me to understand the reasoning behind not letting fans into those seats to experience the best that baseball has to offer. 

The icing on the cake is that the A’s lead Major League Baseball in the percentage rise in average ticket prices this year, a nice 25% increase from last year.  That’s a nice thank you to the fans.  What about the upper deck?  It will remained closed through the ALCS games with Detroit.  Too bad in my opinion.  One bright note is that there is consideration to open those seats if Oakland makes it to the playoffs.  C’mon, guys.  I know these are not the best seats in the house, but they are a chance for a kid, a thrilled teenager, or some diehard fan whose cash can’t quite get him into the lower level.  These fans want to experience the playoffs, too.  When I read more intimate, I read more exclusive.  Baseball, in my field of vision and understanding, should be for as many people as possible.

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Detroit Wins Game 2 In NY

With the victory going to Detroit in game 2 in of Detroit vs NY, now things change from a ticket vantage point.  Had the Yankees won game 2 there would be a good chance for the Yanks to sweep the series and for there to be only one game in Detroit.  The Tigers now have a chance to make things interesting.  And ticket brokers, season ticket holders, and speculators in general can sell those baseball tickets to game 4 with no hesitation or worry of returns.  There is going to be a game 4.

In my opinion, for those of you planning a trip to Detroit (c’mon NY fans, you can spend that money) to catch either game 3 or 4 should purchase those tickets right now.  I only see the price increasing from here.  TicketKing is a good bet to land a pair of decent seats for between $220 – $320, but I predict those prices will jump by tomorrow morning as all the supply vanishes.  Another way to look at it is this: right now every ticket broker, would-be scalper and speculator is out there trying to score Detroit Playoff seats!  Once they grab them all, guess what is next?  Of course, they are going to raise those prices immediately and substantially!  In addition, think of all the long suffering Detroit Tiger fans who are excited that their team has shown some life.  They are out there buying those tickets like crazy.  As are the New York Yankee fans, specifically the diehards who are going to travel to Detroit to support the team of desting.  Detroit Tiger tickets are most available now.  So, if you are like me, you are on the phone trying to get those tickets now.  When the sun comes up tomorrow, the tickets you buy tonight will be either unavailable or you are going to spend more money to get the exact same thing.  Good luck!

For Playoff Tickets Forget The Line

It’s the end of the line in New York.  That is, it’s the end of waiting in line for baseball playoff tickets for Mets and Yankees fans.  This tradition is going into history due to the amazing transformation the internet is having on everything in our society.  The memories of waiting in a line, debating who would win, strong points and weak points, all are now going away in the Big Apple.  And probably the rest of Baseball USA soon.  The baseball team ownership is moving to an online lottery for tickets.

The movement to online rather than in line has been gathering strength for the last few years.  The Mets are officially the first team to say no more to any box office sale of playoff tickets.  There is more than one reason behind the move.  The major reason that is cited by the Mets organization is fairness, convenience, and ease.  People sitting at home, waiting for the imaginary bell to chime, all are able to scramble for their tickets.  And if were honest, the baseball organizations probably did not like people gathering outside the ballparks.  This is a situation that had to be managed, even if from a distance.  Plus, in addition to whatever security or adminstration was necessary, they also had to provide the staff to operate those box office windows.  Now, a much smaller staff can organize the online event, everyone can participate, it is all over in a matter of minutes, and the computers will sort out all the details.  Another reason the move is taking place is that the NYPD and the City were not thrilled with the concept of thousands of people waiting in potentially bad weather, and potentially angry by a competitive and poorly organized structure.  So, essentially the powers that be did not enjoy the situation and now technology has taken it away.

But, as is so often the case in the modern era, shouldn’t we ask ourselves ‘what have we lost’?  I have waited in line for tickets before and the excitement was something that can’t be replaced.  People would bring food, swap stories, and the suffering through the bad weather only reinforced the sensation of loyalty to team.  Was it ideal? No.  Was it logical?  Not really.  But baseball is wholly American and the more dedication people had for their team the better the chance they had to see them in person, in the playoffs.  Now we are left with an emotionless (and I will admit very democratic) process of distributing those coveted baseball tickets.  It still bothers me, though.  In 1998, when the Yanks swept the Padres in the World Series, someone who had a ticket for that game was a diehard fan, no matter what.  Either they had season tickets, they paid a ton of money to a ticket broker, or they did what only the Average Joe could do to get a World Series ticket: they waited all night in the cold with their own conviction and fortitude.  When you saw a ticket from those days, or the years before, the ticket had an image of dedication.  Today, it is more a reflection of status or luck. 

Times change.  Baseball is still baseball and to some this might be a small issue to write about, but to a purist it’s the tradition that counts side by side with the game.  The future of baseball tickets is definitely online, but let’s not forget a great part of baseball tradition.  And hopefully not all cities will follow step.  Cash and luck should not be all that ballparks are made of.  Baseball should be avaibable to everyone, especially to those dedicated enough to stand in line at 3am talking baseball in the cold.

Great Article On Baseball Playoff Tickets

I would like everyone to check out the great article by Russell Adams of the Wall Street Journal Online Edition, dated today.  The title of article is "Baseball-Playoff Seats Get Harder to Score" and I fully agree with every point in the article.  In the grand scheme of things baseball tickets are not that important but at the same time Americans should not have to scramble or go into debt to attend a ballgame.  The article pointed out some disturbing trends which I hope the MLB is going to address, if not this season then in the coming years.

When you read the article you learn that the St Louis Cardinals have changed dramatically the policy for seats available.  I will quote directly from article because it really speaks for itself.  Russell Adams writes "The St. Louis Cardinals, who are leading in the National League Central division race, made only about 3,000 seats per game available for each of their potential home playoff games; last year, they made 14,000 tickets avaiable" for the same batch of first round games.  Now, we have long watched and experienced the growth in baseball ticket pricing and the fact that playoff game tickets are becoming harder to get.  But this is a startling one year jump!  Russell goes on to discuss how baseball is coming to resemble the NFL or NBA in ticket prices.  I doubt anyone reading this is happy with the situation. 

But then there is the reality on the ground.  People want to see baseball games and they need baseball tickets to get in.  There are more people in this country every year.  And despite what so many football fans say, baseball is still just as popular as it was 20 years ago, if not more.  Ballpark seating has increased in some instances but for the most part the number of seats has not changed.  All the more reason to try to come together and find tickets through any means possible.  For me, that basically means the internet and newspapers.  Baseball tickets, like any high demand item, have their price.  How much am I willing to spend?  It depends, but reading this article tells me it is going to be more than last year.

The Basics of Baseball Tickets

This blog is dedicated to discussing how and why cheap baseball seats are a societal necessity.  Baseball has been an integral part of our lives, and that of the generations before us, and needs to continue as the major sport of the United States.  Now the demand for baseball tickets has never been hotter, and the coming playoffs may create the highest demand ever if both New York teams face one another again.  The ticket brokers will be having a field day, but there might be a few opportunities amongst the high prices.

I am hoping this blog will be interactive.  I am looking for some good seats that don’t kill the wallet.  I think it can be done.  I need to mention my brother Kevin and my good friend Roland, both of whom are also in search of tickets this fall.  And anyone else who would like to post any news of baseball tickets that are reasonable, please feel welcome.  Baseball is essential to the American way of life and I want as many people as possible to be within reach of Major League Baseball tickets.

How this comes about is unknown?  Ticket brokers are what they are, I have patronized them in the past and had some good experiences.  And a few poor experiences, too.  But ticket brokers are not the only source for tickets.  We have that wonderful animal Ebay, along with the classified sections of newspapers, online classifieds, and good old word of mouth.  So do not just fork over the big dollars to the first ticket broker you call, make them compete with each other.  Go online, and check your newspaper.  The prices will not be pretty but we have to expect to pay some good money to see MLB’s finest face each other in classic fall competition. 

We can’t beat supply and demand, and that is not the goal.  The plan here is to be smart, use good timing, and make sure every source is exhausted before we fork over the cash for our baseball tickets.  Thanks for reading, let’s get ready to watch those prices in the coming weeks.  I am predicting good prices in Minnesota and Oakland, and terrible prices for both NY teams.  Of course!  But you never know.