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.