With all the recent B&C talk of season tickets, I began to wonder if I should buy myself a nice collection of seats, to commemorate Shea Stadium’s final season of existence. After all, despite it being the ugliest ballpark still in use, a good percentage of my childhood was spent wasting away in those orange seats. While perusing the ticket prices, I noticed that there were some disturbing numbers preceding the decimal points — numbers that seemed to have increased at the same rate the Mets’ September division lead disintegrated. After a little more research, I found this article in New York Newsday, by regular Mets scribe Ken Davidoff, describing this inexplicable price hike in more detail…
…at least, more diplomatic detail than I would give it. Bolded comments are mine, as if there was going to be any confusion.
After historic collapse, Mets raise ticket prices
by Ken Davidoff
December 16, 2007
The Mets, coming off a historically crushing end to their 2007 season, are increasing their ticket prices by “on average, about 20 percent,” Dave Howard, the team’s executive vice president of business operations, said yesterday.
Met-onymy: This way, when they disappoint their fans in 2008, there will be less angry people in attendance. Well played, Dave.
The median ticket price will be “in the mid-30s” per game, said Howard, who said exact ticket prices will be released to the general public tomorrow.
Met-onymy: It’s only right that the median ticket price matches the team’s median age.
Mike Weinstat, a Port Washington resident, told Newsday the season tickets he shares with a friend - located in the loge boxes right off home plate - are increasing 24 percent, from approximately $71 per game per ticket to approximately $88.
“There’s a saying in business, ‘If you’ve got ‘em by the –, squeeze ‘em,’” Weinstat said yesterday in a telephone interview. “The Mets are run like a great business. They are squeezing the customers. They know that everything is going to be in huge demand for the new ballpark.”
Met-onymy: The Mets are run more like one of those large furniture retailers that loads up on inventory each summer, then claims bankruptcy by the close of the calendar year. Why are fans paying for the new ballpark when the team already put the catchy little “Citi” in the venue’s name? ****.
Citi Field, the Mets’ new ballpark, is on schedule to open in 2009. If he didn’t renew his seat, Weinstat said, “Someone else can take it, just so they can get it for the new ballpark.”
Met-onymy: Weinstat followed up his statement by grabbing his genitals in an aggressive fashion and claiming, “They can f–kin’ have ‘em,” before realizing his statement really didn’t make any sense.
Howard, in a telephone interview, acknowledged that the 2009 arrival of Citi Field did embolden the team to increase prices. But that didn’t constitute the only motivation, he said.
Met-onymy: It turns out the team actually owes Roger Cedeno, Robbie Alomar, Doug Sisk and Calvin Schiraldi $1.2 billion in deferred salary.
“It’s the team, primarily,” Howard said, “but we certainly think that Citi Field in 2009, that has been a factor that has generated a lot of additional season-ticket prices.”
Met-onymy: Is this even English? Howard speaks like Ralph Kiner swallowing his own tongue.
Howard acknowledged that the Mets were “a little bit on the aggressive side” with their pricing for 2008.
Met-onymy: Which is funny, considering the Mets were “a little bit on the **** side” with their performance in 2007.
He continued: “Even after this ticket-price increase, we still have the lowest median ticket price of all the major sports teams in New York…
Met-onymy: Though he did leave out all the teams playing in New Jersey. And the Liberty, who currently give out tickets with the purchase of a Big Gulp.
“…We think it’s a fair and reasonable price relative to the value of the ticket.”
Met-onymy: Because nothing screams “value” like an overpriced, windy upper deck box in April, watching a two-man rotation spread out over five guys. Bring the kids!
About 750,000 tickets for 36 games of the Mets’ 2008 home schedule - about 16 percent of the overall ticket inventory - will be priced $10 and under, Howard said.
Met-onymy: In a seemingly unrelated statement, Howard then introduced the new $10 seating section, located just behind the gift shop, conveniently underneath the subway station platform.
Weinstat, who said he has been sharing season tickets with his friend for more than 20 years - the friend, whose name is on the tickets, declined to be identified - said his complaints are primarily based on the Mets’ moves so far this offseason and the large increase in ticket prices in light of the way the Mets’ 2007 season ended.
Met-onymy: The Mets made a move this offseason?
“They’ve cut $20 million off the payroll,” Weinstat said, referring to the departures of Tom Glavine ($10.5 million salary in 2007), Shawn Green (about $6.25 million from the Mets) and Guillermo Mota ($3.2 million). “They don’t replace anything. And they raise the ticket prices 24 percent?”
Met-onymy: I KNEW IT — the Mets are preparing to get J. Santana, J. Blanton, S. Kazmir, D. Drysdale, E. Bunny and J. Christ. Now it all makes sense. Note: Christ will play against righties and when Alou is hurt.
Howard countered that Jose Reyes (from $2.5 million to $4 million) and David Wright ($1 million to $5 million) will receive raises, as will re-signed free agents Luis Castillo ($5.75 million to $6 million), Ramon Castro ($850,000 to about $2.3 million), Marlon Anderson and Damion Easley (each of whom will earn about $100,000 more). Oliver Perez is due a significant raise from his $2.325-million salary, although the Mets saved money in switching catchers from Paul Lo Duca ($6.25 million in 2007) to Brian Schneider ($3.5 million).
Met-onymy: And Christ is in his walk year…though he’s apparently not speaking with Boras either.
“The payroll will be above last year’s,” Howard said. “We’re not quite done yet. We’re going to add to the payroll.”
Met-onymy: “…we’re not going to improve the team, per se. But, out of loyalty to tradition, the Mets are well-prepared to offer tremendous sums of cash to players well past their primes. Bartolo Colon, Freddy Sanchez, Carlos Silva…the (really low) sky’s the limit!”
The Mets’ 2007 payroll was about $115 million. Their 2007 season ended in horrific fashion, as they blew a seven-game lead in the National League East with 17 days to go - an unprecedented collapse.
Met-onymy: I just threw up in my mouth…
Said Howard: “We’re not going to make business decisions based on a two-week period. It was very difficult for our fans, and it was difficult for us. But it was an aberration relative to the performance of our team.
Met-onymy: It took Howard 43 minutes to pronounce “aberration.”
“… If you look at it objectively, this is a championship-caliber, playoff-contending team. We’ll hopefully be better for having endured what we endured.”
Met-onymy: If you look at it realistically, the Mets only showed their true colors as overrated pretenders in the last two weeks of the season. The team “endured” nothing, slapnuts. The only victims here are the ones you’re bleeding for crap seats in a crappier stadium.
Said Weinstat: “I would have rather had a team like the 1973 Mets that spent a lot of the year in third place. I think the bottom line is to make the postseason.”
Met-onymy: The Mets did spend a lot of the year in third place — October, November, December…
Honestly, are these the only guys Newsday could have interviewed? I feel for the Weinstat guy, but between him and Howard, I felt like I was listening to the Elephant Man eat taffy. Howard managed to say nothing of substance to justify the ticket hike, and Weinstat made Howard look slightly less special ed by saying even less against it.Maybe the Mets’ supposed payroll increases are going toward a Hooked on Phonics program.