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.