I try to stay professional on my website. While I try to share my views on some of the more prominent topics in sports, I also try to remain an unbiased sports writer, not allowing any of my fandom interfere with delivering the truth.
Today, I come to you not as a writer of sports, but as a fan so disheartened by my favorite team’s upper management that it was time I spoke out.
I can’t keep quiet any longer. Instead of bettering the situation, Yankees president Randy Levine has made it worse. And it’s time for the fans to strike back.
I have personally stayed clear of the New York Yankees and StubHub debacle that is currently going on between the rich and poor fans on New York. Partly because there have been an endless amount of articles written upon it, and partly because it has me so infuriated I didn’t no how to wrangle my thoughts professionally without dropping an F-bomb every other word.
The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money. It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for their ticket and [a different] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it frustrates the purchaser of the full amount. And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.
Yankees COO Lonn Trost to Neil Best at Newsday
That was the proverbial powder keg. Trost basically said that the new Yankees Stadium specifically built a section of premier seating so the rich Yankees fans didn’t have to sit with the poor ones. Or basically, the fans that have made the Yankees who they are today.
It all starts with the new stadium. Any Yankees fan who likes this monstrosity of a ballpark doesn’t really like the Yankees or the game of baseball. They enjoy a night out on the town. This stadium has little to do with enhancing the game watching experience as it has to do with paying homage to the financial empire in which the Yankees franchise has become.
Now when I go to Yankees Stadium, I always sit in the upper level. And here’s a little secret. It’s not because I can’t afford a ticket in those fancy premium seats. I mean, I can’t afford a season ticket package there, but if it was a huge game, and I wanted to go with Big Lar, D-Sant and Greene like the good ol’ days, we could get seats down there.
But we don’t want to. It’s a waste of money. I want to sit with the — what Trost has deemed as — poor people. That’s who the Yankees fans are and what has made the Yankees so great. The old Yankees Stadium was classic. When that upper level started rocking, you never knew if you were going to survive the fan-imposed earthquake or not. When Pedro Martinez or some Red Sox player beaned one of the Yankees, you heard it, and it wasn’t in made for TV, PG language.
This started with the new stadium and how they started brushing the old fans to the side. For years, Big Lar, D-Sant, Greene and myself had the Saturday ticket package. We had great seats in the upper level, eight rows behind home plate. Some of my greatest Yankees memories were in those seats.
We no longer have that package anymore. You want to know why? They deemed those seats were worth more than what we had paid for years and felt that we — as loyal repeat customers — would more likely be suited way down the left field line with an obstructed view. It was absurd.
I have lived in Atlanta for the past 13 years of my life. I still make it to the Stadium at least once a year, so believe me, going to a game at Yankees Stadium costs me way more than the average fan. But it never bothered me until now.
Now I don’t think I can bring myself to enter Yankees Stadium until Levine and Trost are fired. If they don’t want the likes of people in my financial status in life at Yankees Stadium, well, then I don’t know that I want to be there.
It is painful to even think this. I have been a Yankees fan since I saw Don Mattingly pick up a bat. I have seen the worst of times and the best of times. And I always went to Yankees games. It wasn’t about how good or bad the team was, it was about the pride and passion of being a fan of pinstripes and representing the greatest team on earth.
And now, they clearly don’t want me — or a large amount of people like me — doing that.
Levine added to the fire, attacking Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. for supporting StubHub — i.e. his residents of the Bronx and Yankees faithful.
“It does surprise me because the only time he showed up to Yankee Stadium was when he was on official business when he was comped.
“I guess there are no greater problems in the Bronx,” Levine continued to Rovell, “that he needs to spend time on, than ticketing.”
How are Hank and Hal standing idle? How are they allowing these people to speak for them and alienate such a large portion of their fanbase. They already don’t allow Comcast subscribers to see their games, now they are trying to keep the common people out?
Isn’t it simple math? I’ve been to Yankees games over the past three seasons with this mediocre product they claim to call a baseball team on the field. The Stadium is rarely full. Wouldn’t it seem better to get more fans into the Stadium that could afford it, than selling less tickets at a higher price to those that can?
It isn’t simply about ticket sales. It’s about the fact that the average fan spends — what? — $20 to $30 more once they are in the gates. A lot of that is on overpriced Yankees merchandise that goes right back to the Yankees.
Subway Squawkers brought up another excellent point. The Steinbrenners did this to themselves. They allowed themselves to be convinced by the elitist Levine and Trost that Yankees Ticket Exchange would be more beneficial than partnering with outlets like StubHub. As their article points out, since it’s inception, only 10% of Yankees tickets have been resold on the Exchange and that my friends is an economic failure.
Instead of admitting defeat, instead of admitting that maybe an outside source would get more fans in the stands, they fight what could be one of their biggest allies. They lie to one of the most loyal fanbases in the world by saying this is about fraud protection.
This isn’t about protecting their fans. This is about making one financial mistake after another since The Boss passed and Hank and Hal continue to drive one of the most storied franchises into the ground.
Now like I said, I will never hold this against the team on the field. I always will believe that this is a World Series bound team, and I will watch every game I can. In fact, I may just start heading to Tampa and watch the team there live instead of trying to go to Yankees Stadium ever again.
That is unless Levine and Trost get canned. Then I will go and celebrate.