News has been slow – at least if you’re waiting for major player moves like I have been. But there are bits and pieces trickling in as the last few weeks have been rolling along, and I have been oddly zen about most of the news that has been brought to my attention via various sources. Jeff hits on two points I was going to talk about in one article, because he’s super efficient that way.
On the ticket price raise: honestly, I didn’t see it. I put my deposit in for the same seats I had last year – the first time in my personal baseball history that I have been able to do that, rather than waiting for FanFest or having to release my old seats and take my chances with new ones the following year sometime. I was told that the lack of raise was due to having a 16-game plan; either the raise was negligible or they didn’t raise at all, but they seem about the same price that I paid last year. A lot of people are angry about the raise, and understandably so; the Mariners have not put a product on the field that would merit making people want to pay more money for games. So far, there has not been an explanation of why the raise was necessary, even in an email that has been sent out to season ticket holders via email:
We apologize. The Mariners organization works hard to have an open line of communication with our Season Ticket Holders, whom we value and consider the backbone of our fan base.
However, recently we sent you a season ticket renewal notice without making it clear that there were price increases for many accounts. We had planned to have our account managers speak personally to all our Season Ticket Holders to explain the changes for 2013 and get your feedback. That didn’t happen in a timely manner.
Our goal was to provide you with personalized attention. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it right.
We recognize the financial and emotional investment you have made in Mariners Baseball. We are sorry for our miscommunication. And we pledge to do better.
Thank you for your support and we hope you will contact your account manager directly with any concerns or questions.
Executive Vice President, Business Operations
My own ticket representative didn’t mention anything about this (likely due to the nature of my plan), and the email could have done a far better job of explaining why the raise in price was “necessary” because frankly, I don’t think “necessary” enters the picture. I think gauging people who are already paying a fair chunk of change to sit in your stands and watch a losing baseball team should be rewarded, not penalized by making them pay more. I pay just over $500 for 16 games and two seats. I know there are others who pay far more for a whole season, different seats, and more games. Why does this ballclub think that this is OK? For being “the best fans in baseball” (and yes, I’m aware that a lot of - if not all – teams say that about their fans), we are certainly not being treated that way. Again, I cannot complain too much because my prices didn’t go up – but they certainly went up this year from 2011, a year where the Ms went 58-80. Sure that’s an improvement from the year before, but it shouldn’t be considered enough of an improvement to charge an extra $100 for 16 games and two seats in left field. It’s still reasonably affordable for me, all things considered, but the Mariners will likely see less money from me for one-off games because of the raise in ticket prices. And I implore you to save your breath about how ‘at least it’s not as expensive as New York’. I don’t live in New York, so I don’t care what they charge. My cost of living applies here in Seattle.
But there isn’t much I can do about this, except wonder if the Ms are going to price me out by next season or the season after. I would hate to have to give up my guaranteed baseball; but I’m not a wealthy person, and this is a huge expenditure for me. If prices keep rising, I’m going to eventually wise up and come to the conclusion that watching from home is free. I hope that never happens, but at the rate things are going, it’s an honest concern for me.
In less cranky news, the Ms are also looking to find a permanent partner for Rick Rizzs. Old news, etc, but I hope they find someone that fits in with the radio team. Having a variety of people on the air was a necessary thing to do, I think, to soften the blow of losing Dave Niehaus after the 2010 season; but now it is time to find a permanent partner. The multiple announcer thing was kind of fun for a while, but it became difficult to tell who was who if I was late to tuning in, and I really found it comforting to hear Dave and Rick’s voices together on a regular basis. It was kind of like settling in with a familiar movie, or a nice bit of comfort food on a rainy day. You could kind of just settle in and know what to expect, and it made it easier to listen to games on those days when I couldn’t watch them. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing who they decide will get the job.
I will be missing the first game of the World Series (and am bummed about it) because I will be at the Sounders game tonight. The crowd will be small and this time we should be able to watch the whole game – last week, I managed to ditch my car so that it was sitting on its skidplate, and spent a good two hours and change waiting for the AAA folks to come and lift me out, so Cynthia and I missed most of the first half of the eventual draw against Real Salt Lake. This time I plan to park smarter and be there on time, dressed warmly and keeping an eye on my text messages, where my friend Jennifer will be giving me score updates. And in case you didn’t already know, go Tigers!