Just moments before I embarked for the Baseball Prospectus 2009 Baltimore whistle stop earlier this week, I got a call from my friend Nick, the “commissioner” of our aggrieved group of Yankees partial-plan ticket holders. Two weeks after turning down the team’s generous offer to accept $85 dollar obstructed view seats behind the right field foul pole instead of $25 grandstand seats, a representative from the Yankees ticket office had phoned Nick to apologize for the way the renewals had been handled, offering us a closer approximation to our initial request. Instead of a 20-game set of $25 grandstand seats between first and third base, we were offered $20 seats just beyond first, in section 413, three rows from the back of the stadium. No word on whether complimentary oxygen tanks would be provided.
As tempting as it might have been to tell the Yankees where to stick that offer given the way we and so many other fans had been treated, in the end, we accepted the deal. The desire to preserve the continuity of our 11-season tradition of making the occasional trip to the ballpark in each other’s company trumped our distaste for the new world order in the Bronx. Still, this is no happy ending. In spite of a belatedly semi-favorable outcome, this episode still represents one more data point in a long line of them detailing the demise of the Yankee brand, at least from the nosebleed seats where we’ll now sit.
As it is, our group is spending only about one-quarter of the dollars we did on last year’s 26-game Flex Plan Tier Box seats—a steep decline in our outlay which makes it clear we’ve voted with our wallets. We’ve lost our automatic access to playoff tickets, but particularly since 2004 (the last time the Yanks made it to the ALCS), that’s scarcely amounted to anything beyond a winter-long interest-free loan for tickets to games that never happened.
While my “Bronx Bummer” piece certainly received a lot of attention, I lack the hubris to think that my squeaky-wheel antics elicited the grease enabling this deal to go down. My name isn’t on the ticket account, and while a resourceful sleuth scouring my web site might have eventually figured it out, I have a hard time squaring that possibility against the collective mental faculties of a ticket office for which this represents an acceptable opening salvo. I’m extremely hopeful that ours is just one of many groups whom the Yankees have suddenly figured out how to accommodate, and would like to hear from the readers who shared their own tales of woe as to whether you’ve received a similar remedy.
Furthermore, I’d like to thank those of you who chimed in to offer your support, whether or not you found yourself in the same boat. I heard from fans of several teams outside of New York as well as many a disgruntled Yankees fan, and once again found that misery loves company. Numerous bloggers and a few mainstream media types picked up the story and thus amplified it, one even providing me with a doozy of a clipping for my files. Several other reporters found no shortage of men and women in the streets willing to fill column inches with similar narratives. A special hat-tip to colleague and friend Neil deMause, who’s been doggedly pursuing the ugly truth about the new Yankee Stadium for years now and who provided a bit of space to help amplify my side of this sordid saga. But you can ask anybody from among the Yankees’ potential ticket holders, and they’ll just tell you this is just another Bronx tale