It's been a few days since Yankees' COO Lonn Trost said some highly questionable things about the Yankees' new ticketing policies for 2016 and I have been quiet about it because I wanted to take the time to gather my thoughts and express them in a polite and reflective manner. I didn't want to fly off the handle which is what I would have done had I written something on the day when Trost's comments first came out.
Here they are in case you missed them:
“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,” Trost said. “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 a ticket and (another) fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to 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.”
Then everything blew up after Randy Levine opened his big smarmy mouth with more comments about the ticket kerfuffle and now I just don't care how angry I sound because I am angry.
Here's what Levine had to say courtesy of friend of the blog Craig Calcaterra:
Levine chose to explain the policy in another way, however. He said that brokers who dump tickets to “unattractive games” for well below the list price are “devaluing the team’s brand.” As if the Yankees themselves are not responsible for the existence of “unattractive games” by virtue of the product on the field, the face price of the tickets, the ballpark experience or some combination of all of those things. Put differently, cheap tickets are only bad for your brand if your brand is all about portraying your product as a luxury good and making games inaccessible for people with tighter budgets. Nice brand, there, Randy.
Levine went on to say that the Yankees have the right to protect its property — meaning its ticket inventory — by putting price floors on resold tickets, “as long as it’s done in the free-market society.” This is about as rich as it gets, as what Levine fails to mention is that the only purpose of a price floor — literally, the very reason you impose one — is because you want to specifically circumvent the free market. A free market that, otherwise, would price the ticket lower than the fixed price the Yankees want.
I just can't with these two. I really can't.
Full disclosure: I was one of those people who defended the new Stadium when it first opened up in 2009. I would disagree with people when they talked about how cold and unfeeling it was. When they said it seemed unfriendly, I scoffed at them. I loved being at the new Stadium. I thought, "What is wrong with these people? How could they not see how much better the new place than the old place?" Sure, the old place was loud, and it seemed so much more intimidating, but it was also dingy and dirty and it needed a major overhaul. I liked being able to go to the ladies room and not be afraid to place my bag on the floor if I needed to. At the old place, I was afraid my bags would catch some disease.
Now in 2016, I finally get it. This wasn't a Stadium that was built for you or for me. It was built for rich people. And the Yankees have done everything in their power to ensure that only rich people will be able to go to the Stadium and to enjoy it. But guess what? The joke's on them because while they've made the Stadium friendly for the elite, attendance has dropped. Why? Well, for starters, the product on the field doesn't match their supposed high quality "game experience" in the rich seats. People have had to sit through games where guys like Brendan Ryan are starting at shortstop and, frankly, who the heck wants to do that?
The Yankees have also missed the playoffs in 2013 and 2014, and made one measly playoff game in 2015 only to be shut out and fall victim to the one and done curse of having to play in the Wild Card game. Oh, right, that all happened because of the ownership's ridiculous idea that the payroll needed to be lowered to some unattainably cheap ceiling that should never happen because they are the goddamn New York Yankees.
You shouldn't have a budget, you fools.
Back to Trost and Levine.
How dare they act as if someone like me doesn't matter because I can't afford to sit in luxury boxes or in the premium seats inside the moat.
How dare they pretend that their battle with StubHub and their eliminating print-at-home tickets is about combating fraud. That's total B.S. and the fans are smarter than Randy Levine gives them credit. No one actually believes that fraud excuse. This is all about StubHub making it easier for people to get into the Stadium to see games. You want to protect your investment and make money? GET A BETTER TEAM ON THE FIELD.
How dare they take a massive dump on fans like me who have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars on season tickets and playoff tickets for 15 years straight because again, I'm not a rich person. I sat in the upper deck for those 15 years. I only had a Sunday package which in the beginning was about 20 games but lowered to 12 or so, perks were taken away and while the prices went up.
Way to alienate the majority of your fanbase! Good job, guys!
It feels like every single day a new story about the Yankees comes out and it's just so embarrassing.
First we have the Aroldis Chapman signing, then the ticket kerfuffle, then there's this sign on the clubhouse door that was copied verbatim from Crossfit.
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) February 19, 2016
Oh, and then earlier today, a story came out with this headline, "Yankees tell players to be less like Cam Newton, more like Russell Wilson."
At first glance it seems like it would be an eye roll worthy piece, but the actual article isn't as bad as the headline makes it out to be. The Yankees basically want the players to be accountable after a loss and to do what Russell Wilson did after the Super Bowl in 2015, not what Cam Newton did a few weeks ago.
So since the Yankees want their players to do that for them, I'd like for the Yankees to do something for me. Please stop embarrassing me, and the rest of the fan base. Stop making it hard to justify being a fan of yours and to defend your ridiculousness.
It's one thing for fans of other teams to hate the Yankees because they're winning all the time, it's another for them to hate the Yankees because the Yankees as a brand, and the people who represent them, are doing and saying awful things.