Overpriced tickets, empty seats, and clueless management

The fact that sports ticket prices are completely out of hand is far from a new revelation, and my favorite club in any sport, the New York Yankees, falls among the worst offenders, possibly even occupying the top spot.

Go team go!

Empty seats, especially in the premium sections, have become the norm, no matter how big the game, or how nice the weather. And as clueless as management at some of these teams can be, they are trying to remedy the problem. But are they trying hard enough?

I became a Yankees season-ticket holder (half-season through 2008, full season for 2009 and 2010) in 1997, and I gave my seats up after the 2010 season (click the link for the long list of reasons why). The Yankees have managed to treat me better as a former ticket holder than when I actually had the account active.

I have received several calls over the past few months from the Yankees ticket office, gauging my interest in rejoining the fold for the 2013 season. I am actually surprised that the club is putting that much effort into cases like mine. When I go to Dunkin’ Donuts, I usually drop the coins I receive as change into the tip jar. The $4,000 or so that my season tickets cost means less to the Yankees than those coins mean to me.

I don’t even bother answering anymore because, in all fairness to the Yankees, I am in no position to commit to tickets of any sort, and many of the factors have nothing to do with the team or its pricing. We are moving, which would make attending weeknight games virtually impossible, and our family expanded, which completely changes the priorities of our budget.

But the few times I did make last-ditch attempts to keep some kind of ticket plan, the seats they were willing to offer me at a reasonable price were pure crap. I may have tried to plead my case with Mrs. 9 if I could have gotten something in the first few rows of the 400 level, in the infield, but when I was offered high rows in the outfield, my response was, “Dude, I have a 50-inch TV. Why would I sit all the way up there?”

And it’s not just the Yankees: A good friend Is part of a group that splits premium (and I do mean premium) Mets tickets, and the Mets actually lowered their prices significantly. Still, the skeptic in me wonders: If the Mets had been a playoff team in any of the three seasons since moving to Citi Field, would they have extended that offer? My gut says no.

Another good friend stopped by tables that the New York Giants and New York Jets set up at an event, and he received the big-time hard sell from both teams. When they asked,” What’s it going to take to get you in these seats?” sounding like desperate used-car salesmen, his response was, “Drop the PSL.” Naturally, they refused.

For years, the only way to get Giants season tickets was to put your name on a waiting list and wait several years (my name was on one prior to the new stadium opening, and I was told to expect a 15- to 20-year wait). I find it almost laughable that I could pick up the phone today and become a season ticket holder if I wanted to, but that would require an investment beyond my means, especially when I don’t root for the team.

For those not in the know, PSL stands for “personal seat license,” which is the biggest scam in the sports ticketing industry. A PSL basically forces fans to pay a large lump sum of money, simply for the right to shell out more money for the actual tickets.

Some PSLs offer owners the right to purchase their seats for other events (concerts, other sports), but the Giants and Jets can’t even do that. When Bruce Springsteen plays MetLife Stadium, who gets the seat: The Giants fan, or the Jets fan? Those teams’ PSL holders receive perks, such as early access to ticket sales, but is that enough?

One of the most irritating things about PSLs is that teams pitch them to fans as investment opportunities, touting how much the fans can profit if they resell the PSLs. I realize running a sports team is running a business, but being a sports fan is an entirely different story. If someone is enough of a fan of the team to consider forking over several thousand dollars per seat for PSLs, selling those rights is the furthest thing from their minds.

Back on topic: It’s obvious that teams are recognizing the fact that the prices they are trying to charge in an economy that is still scuffling are completely out of hand, leading to the large pockets of empty seats in very visible locations (field level behind home plate for baseball, field level between the 40-yard-lines for football), but are they doing enough about it? My experience Saturday, which prompted me to write this blog post, suggests otherwise.

$275? Seriously?

A friend from college was nice enough to give me two tickets to Saturday afternoon’s Yankees game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and we took 0.9 to his first-ever Yankees game. They were fun seats, especially since I usually sit upstairs: section 117a (field level, behind the Yankees dugout), row 30.

However, when I looked at the ticket price, my jaw dropped. The face value of the tickets was $275 apiece. I am not by any means trying to sound ungrateful for the tickets, and I was happy to learn that my friend received them as a gift, so he didn’t shell out that ungodly sum of money for them, but seriously?

First of all, they were technically field level seats, but they were nowhere near the field. As I said, they were in row 30, but the Legends Suite seats are in front of the field level seats, so they were really about 40 rows up.

Second, they were in the back row, and the condiments station was directly behind us. I joked about getting something spilled on me when we first got there, and somebody with an $11.50 cup of Miller Lite soon obliged.

Third, the section to our right had a handicapped seating area in place of rows 26-30. I am all for ballparks having as much handicapped access and seating as possible, and I applaud the existence of this seating area, and all of the others in the ballpark. However, because of the location of this particular handicapped seating area, I could not see anything hit down the right field line.

Charging $275 for those tickets is beyond criminal. I would have been irate if I actually paid that silly price to sit there. And despite the beautiful weather and excellent opponent, there were plenty of empty seats around us.

Also, I have no way to prove this, but if you look at StubHub, there are usually thousands of tickets available for every game. In the case of Saturday’s game, there were more than 2,400 available on the morning of the game. Yet, despite the fact that StubHub users can assign any price they wish to their tickets, there are often large groups of listings at the exact same price, all for seats in sections like 117a, and all from a handful of user names. So, either a few people are rich enough to own several-hundred field level season tickets apiece, or the Yankees are flooding the secondary market with tickets they can’t sell. You decide. I already have.

Sports teams have a choice: Either take a serious look at your pricing policies, or continue to see more and more empty seats. But despite recent economic struggles, the teams’ management remains far too arrogant, for the most part, to admit that the current structure is out of hand. It will be interesting to see if this ever changes.

I am now a former New York Yankees season-ticket holder

A long and glorious era ended this afternoon with a quick, painless (but at the same time, incredibly painful) phone call: For the first time since Opening Day of the 1997 Major League Baseball season, I am no longer a New York Yankees season-ticket holder.

I knew my days were numbered when the new Yankee Stadium became a reality. New sports facilities are 100% geared toward corporate clients, leaving the real fan in far worse seats than they enjoyed in the older buildings. Just ask anyone who has upper-deck tickets for the New York Jets or New York Giants. The new Meadowlands Stadium is probably fantastic for those who can afford to shell out the price of a new car for each PSL, and pay exorbitant ticket prices on top of that. But for fans of average means, the upper deck is awful, with “comparable” seats that are actually 40 feet higher and 40 feet further away from the field.

The view from Box 611 at the REAL Yankee Stadium

I had a great run in Box 611 in the real Yankee Stadium. I had my tickets there from 1997-2008, and the Yankees made the playoffs every season except the last one, winning the World Series three consecutive seasons from 1998-2000 (although only clinching the 1999 Fall Classic in the Bronx).

Not only were the seats fantastic, but there was a sense of community in Box 611. Many of the people in the section had the same tickets for years, and I never felt alone at a ballgame on the occasional day or night when I couldn’t find anyone to take my second ticket. We laughed together when the Boston Red Sox choked year after year (until 2004, but let’s not get into that). We cried together when people experienced tragedies, like the loss of the father of one of my best friends during the 1999 World Series. We drank together (BOY, did we drink together!), and we enjoyed the entire experience, whether it was a cold, rainy night against the then-inept Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a beautiful summer afternoon matinee against the hated Red Sox, or time for the intensity of the postseason.

Although the new Yankee Stadium exceeded my expectations when it comes to appearance, the atmosphere has never been the same. As I said earlier, the real fans were pushed higher and further away from the field, leaving embarrassing acres of empty seats on field level, and basically destroying any kind of home-field advantage. Why did this happen? Many fans, myself included, were forced into buying full season tickets in order to get anything resembling a decent location — the seats I was offered to remain in a half-season plan were thoroughly and completely unacceptable. So we all turned into ticket brokers. After all, how many people do you know who can actually go to 81 games, or 41 games?

Since the new ballpark opened its doors, StubHub has been flooded with tickets. Sure, some of them are from people who wouldn’t know a baseball if they swallowed one, and who are just looking to turn a profit. But a healthy chunk of them are from people like myself who are just trying to get some money back on tickets we were basically forced into purchasing and can’t use. The easy access to tickets means two things: Season-ticket holders like myself end up selling tickets at a loss, unless they’re for premium games like the Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, Opening Day, or Old Timer’s Day — you know, exactly the type of games that represent the reason most people buy tickets in the first place. And the number of opposing fans in the ballpark borders on irritating.

The view from Section 314 at the new Yankee Stadium

Another side effect of the StubHub frenzy: Unlike the community feel of Box 611, there is zero sense of community in the new Yankee Stadium. I went to about 30 games in my 2010 seats in section 314, and I recognized people in the section a handful of times, if it was even that many. Every time I struck up a conversation with someone in seats around me, the answer was the same: “Oh, yeah, I bought them on StubHub.” Managing the season tickets became a part-time job, and an often unrewarding job, at that.

I’m far from alone in feeling this way. Ross Sheingold from NYY Stadium Insider expressed many of the same frustrations in his very well-written blog post.

However, when all is said and done, the main reason why I didn’t keep the tickets was simple: I have been unemployed since October 2008 and, while I have been making some money by blogging, it’s nowhere near enough to justify buying the tickets. I refuse to let a balance accumulate on my credit card unless it’s an absolute, critical, unavoidable emergency, which Yankees tickets don’t qualify as, no matter how much I love having them. A lot of my friends who were regulars are in equally crappy situations where they can’t get to anywhere near the number of games they used to attend. And my wife and I are trying to start a family, which will add more strain to an already-stretched budget, leaving no room for the kind of financial commitment the Yankees require.

Still, if the Yankees were still playing in the original ballpark across the street, I know things would be different. If I still had my seats in Box 611, I’d fight tooth and nail to keep them. My wife and I never, ever fight, but if Box 611 were still in the picture, the truce may have been broken. I just don’t have the same passion for my seats in the new Yankee Stadium. I hate saying this, but they simply weren’t worth fighting for.

I’ll still go to a bunch of games, via StubHub, tickets from friends, and what-not. But not having season tickets for the first time since 1997 feels like a divorce. It’s been a part of my fabric for so long, that there’s just an empty feeling right now. This sucks.

Box 611, missed more and more with every passing day 😦

Hey, Baltimore Orioles: How about getting your shit together?

A once-proud franchise, the Baltimore Orioles, has become a disgrace to Major League Baseball, posting losing season after losing season, and carrying rosters filled with ill-prepared young players and past-their-prime veterans. Something needs to be done about this, and quickly.

“But, wait,” the observant reader might be saying to himself or herself right now, “Nine is a Yankees fan. Why does he give a shit about the Orioles?”

Orioles SUCK

Well, I will tell you why I give a shit: The Orioles are costing me money, because I can’t give my damned Yankees tickets away when their sorry asses are in town. I ate my tickets to tonight’s game — which Baltimore lost in classic Orioles fashion, on a two-run throwing error by washed-up third baseman Miguel Tejada, who is clearly not enjoying the post-steroids phase of his career — despite having dropped the price for $55 seats to $15 on StubHub this afternoon. And I haven’t had a taker for tomorrow night’s game, or the Thursday-afternoon matinee.

The Orioles have become what the Tampa Bay Rays used to be: The one horrific fucking team in the division that comes up on the schedule 18 times per season and gives fans no reason to want to attend the games. If the Yankees win, they were supposed to win, and if they lose, well, how in the fuck did they lose to the stinking Orioles?

To Tampa’s credit, the Rays have gone from perennial cellar dweller to a legitimate championship contender and, if the club’s farm system can replace a couple of key players who will likely leave in search of greener pastures after this season (Carl Crawford), this team can be in the mix for quite a few years.

The Orioles used to be one of baseball’s model franchises. Almost every one of their prospects came up to the Major Leagues knowing how to play the game the right way, because “The Oriole Way” actually meant something. Now, “The Oriole Way” just means tanking yet another season. Ever since Peter Angelos became the owner of this ball club, things have gone downhill year after year.

It’s a shame. Baltimore has great baseball fans, and Camden Yards is still one of the best ballparks in the league. Ask any opposing fans, since they usually make up two-thirds of the crowd.

If any Orioles fans happen to read this blog, what I wrote isn’t intended as an insult to you. You should agree 100% with my sentiments. What has happened to this team over the past 15 years or so is disgraceful, and you deserve better.

So, Baltimore Orioles: Can you try not to suck so I can actually sell a fucking ticket occasionally?

Yankee tickets + rain = stupid questions

As anyone who either knows me or reads this blog already knows, I’m splitting full season tickets to the Yankees with a friend.

Im with stupid

I'm with stupid

And as anybody with a window knows, all it has done since the month of June started is fucking rain, which makes dealing with baseball tickets a very difficult ordeal.

However, I have a few friends who must think Yankees season tickets come with mystical powers, based on the stupid questions I have to listen to almost every time I have tickets on a day when the forecast contains the possibility of precipitation.

First off, I am not the least bit religious. The only “big man” I have any kind of connection with is Clarence Clemons, and that’s strictly musical. So when you ask me, “When is the rain going to stop,” the only answer you should expect is, “How the fuck should I know?”

Second, season tickets don’t provide me with access into the Yankees’ inner sanctum. So when you ask me questions like, “Are they going to call the game?” or “When do they usually call the game?” or “Do you think they’ll call the game?” please see my answer to “When is the rain going to stop?”

I hate rain, especially on days when I have Yankees tickets. The threat of rain annoys me enough. Some of my friends’ questions push me to the boiling point.

And before you ask, no, I DON’T know when they’ll make the game up.

The New York Yankees: As fan-friendly as ever

I don’t know why anything the New York Yankees organization does surprises me anymore, but today was a real whopper.

Rain delay at Yankee Stadium

Rain delay at Yankee Stadium

First, the 1:05 game against the last-place Washington Nationals was delayed not one hour, not two hours, not three hours, but five-and-a-half hours. I understand that the Yankees already have three games to make up, and I realize that the Nationals don’t come back to Yankee Stadium this season, but five-and-a-half hours? Really?

Then, after waiting out the rain delay at Yankee Tavern, when the rain finally let up and they started preparing the field, I entered the ballpark to find out that they had cut off beer sales. Why? If there was such a concern that the 10,000 or so people who were dumb enough to wait out a five-and-a-half-hour delay (myself very much included) were going to be that angry and unruly, maybe that should be a consideration the next time a decision is made on whether to postpone a game or not. Naturally, the people in the Legends Suite had plenty of beer, but I guess those of us who don’t fork over $1,250 per game don’t count.

The one nice thing the ball club did was let people move downstairs, but even that struck me as a public-relations ploy. With all of the abuse the Yankees organization has gotten about the premium seats being empty on TV, the last thing they wanted was another game where the field level was about as sparsely populated as Montana farmland.

Then the capper was the big announcement that in gratitude for the fans waiting out the delay, every ticket to tonight’s game could be exchanged for one free bleacher, grandstand or terrace seat for a future non-premium game. Sounds great, right?

I picked three random midweek games against marginal teams and, just as I suspected, I couldn’t get two seats together in the bleachers, in the grandstand, or in the terrace level. The cheapest pair of seats I found was in the main level, for $125 apiece, and they’re not covered by tonight’s generous gift.

So what exactly did we get in return for waiting five-and-a-half hours to see the Yankees get shut out by the worst team in Major League Baseball? I mean besides wet, sober and irritated?

This organization really needs to be gutted.

New Yankee Stadium: Kiss home-field advantage goodbye

I’ve tried to keep an open mind about the new Yankee Stadium and the entire process of relocating ticket-holders, telling myself that the first Boston series would provide a true litmus test of whether the ballpark is a success or not. After attending both atrocities against the hated Red Sox, some glaring issues reared their ugly heads.

A proud member of Red Sox Nation

A proud member of Red Sox Nation

There always tends to be a strong presence of Red Sox fans at games between the two teams. After all, they are bitter rivals, and Boston’s less than four hours away by car. But the sheer number of Boston fans at the games the past two nights was ridiculous. And the reason why was pretty easy to figure out, especially after talking with some of them: Tickets were available on StubHub for, in some cases, less than one-half of face value.

Why were so many tickets for two premium games practically being given away? The answer is simple: Far too many fans, including the one writing this blog, were basically strong-armed into buying full season tickets, in order to avoid being assigned horrible seats or no seats, and the number of tickets available for every game via StubHub is simply staggering.

It truly pains me to praise a ball club that I hate as much as the Red Sox, but they’re clearly doing things the right way, while the Yankees’ top management is lucky to be breathing, considering how far up their asses their heads must be.

Let’s compare various facets of the two organizations:

The Boston Red Sox have won two World Series titles since the last time the Yankees won, in 2000.

The Red Sox play in a ballpark that opened on the day the Titanic sank (I am NOT making this up). Fenway Park has undergone several rounds of improvements, but it’s still nearly 100 years old, and it still has more than 15,000 fewer seats than Yankee Stadium.

The most expensive ticket in Fenway Park is $325. The Yankees, meanwhile, play in a brand-new, $1.5 billion ballpark with the equivalent of Fenway’s $325 seats having sold for $900, $1,050 and $2,500 before the Yankees were forced to lower their prices due to the embarrassing number of prime empty seats that were painfully visible on TV. But even after the price reductions and factoring in the extra seats being given to season-ticket holders, the Yankees’ premium seats are still far more expensive than Boston’s.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the Boston fans I spoke with at this week’s games paid less than one-half of face value for their tickets, and other blogs documented the staggering number of tickets available for each game and the desperation by sellers to just get some money back on their hefty investments.

I looked at StubHub’s offerings for the next Yankees-Red Sox game in Boston — Tuesday, June 9 at 7:05 p.m. — and the results were completely different.

The cheapest tickets available were standing-room vouchers at $78 (face value of $20-$30). The cheapest “real” seats were 26 rows up in the left-field bleachers, at $80 apiece (face value of $12). And while it’s tough to compare the two ballparks, as they could not possibly be more structurally different, tickets in section 9, which is the rough equivalent of my Yankees seats, ranged from $128-$397.75 apiece (face value of $30) — a far cry from the $20 (for $40 tickets) the Red Sox fans next to me last night paid for their tickets. Do you know what that means? The crowd June 9 will be heavily pro-Red Sox, as it should, since it’s a home game for them. As a Yankee fan, I’m not sure what a home game is anymore.

Red Sox fans are able to rake in serious profits, should they choose to sell their tickets, while Yankees fans are, for all intents and purposes, giving them away. Why? Because, as I said earlier, so many Yankees fans were forced into buying full-season tickets, and it’s simple supply-and-demand economics.

You would think the New York Yankees’ brilliant management would want the ballpark to be raucous and pro-Yankees all the time, but especially for big series, like the one Boston just swept. But thanks to their ticketing policies, not only will the Red Sox play virtual home games at Yankee Stadium, but so will the Mets, the Phillies and just about any other team with fans willing to travel.

And as the icing on the cake, the Yankees’ organization consistently does things to alienate the Yankees fans who do actually attend games. Just look at what happened Monday night. For those who don’t know, a 7:05 p.m. game didn’t start until 9:22 p.m. due to rain, and many fans left the Stadium after being told by Yankees’ personnel that the game would be canceled.

When an announcement was made that the game was indeed on, many of these fans were refused readmission into the ballpark, despite the fact that they only exited due to being fed erroneous information by representatives of the organization. How many of those people do you think are going to be in a hurry to fork over more dollars to the team after being treated that way? My guess is that the number will be small. Smooth move, Yankees.

The Yankees organization has always been sorely lacking when it comes to dealing with fans, ticket-holders and the media, but it seems to reach a new low every day. Things were far from perfect at the old ballpark, but crap like this makes me miss box 611 more and more every inning.

Common Sense 1, New York Yankees 0

Earth is flat. Santa Claus, the Easter Beagle and the Great Pumpkin are real. Soy burgers taste just like grade-A beef. That dog you had as a child really did go to live with a nice couple on a farm. And the high and mighty New York Yankees actually admitted that they were wrong.

Empty seats at the new Yankee Stadium

Empty seats at the new Yankee Stadium

The Yankees announced today that they are slashing the prices of the best seats in the ballpark. If you’ve watched one of the six games that have been played at Yankee Stadium thus far, the seats I’m talking about are the ones filled with all of the fans who came in costume, dressed as empty seats.

The prices for the seats are still beyond ridiculous — $2,500 tickets were cut to $1,250 and $1,000 seats to $650, plus season-ticket holders are being given additional tickets in comparable seats — but it’s a step in the right direction.

There are few people who love baseball more than I do, but $2,500 to see one regular-season baseball game is a sick joke, no matter where the tickets are. Most Yankees games drag on for about four hours, and ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer paid less than $2,500 for four hours with Ashley Dupre.

I guess two weeks of being abused via just about every form of media about the number of people in the best and most visible seats in the ballpark resembling the crowd for a Men Without Hats reunion tour got to the arrogant upper management of the Yankees. But I have no sympathy for Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Lonn Trost, who have been nothing but condescending throughout the entire relocation process to the new ballpark.

In any event, it will be nice to turn on a Yankees game being played at home and see a color besides the navy blue of the seat backs.

Is there any chance that the ballclub’s generosity will extend to those of us with $40 seats? Um, I won’t hold my breath.

I hate April baseball

Don’t get me wrong: Opening Day is my favorite day of the entire calendar year. But as someone who has had tickets to at least 40 Yankees game per season since 1997, the part of the schedule between Opening Day and Memorial Day is a never-ending pain in the ass.

Old Yankee Stadium in the rain

Old Yankee Stadium in the rain

Why? Mother Nature is a filthy trollop. Weather has been an issue for almost every April game I’ve had tickets to. Nobody wants to sit in the rain, and nobody wants to trek all the way up to the Bronx only to find out the obvious: The game has been canceled. Gee, does the fact that it’s been pouring all day have anything to do with that? Yesterday was one of the rare times when the Yankees actually called a game early enough to save people the futile trip.

Sure, you get your occasional gorgeous day in April. But that’s the exception, not the rule. Even when you’re not dealing with precipitation, which is rare, you often have to dress the way you’d typically dress for a football game.

And all of this, folks, makes April tickets nearly impossible to get rid of. Trust me on this one.

At least the traditional Tampa Rays @ Yankees April series won’t be a factor anymore, with the Rays actually becoming a good team. It seemed that for several seasons in a row, one of the Yankees’ earliest home series would be against Tampa, a then-putrid team, in God-awful weather. The best salesperson in the world couldn’t talk someone into going to see a minor-league baseball team, in 40-degree weather, with rain in the air.

I just hope the weather changes for the better by the time the Yankees return from their upcoming road trip at the end of the month. I don’t have the patience for this crap anymore!

How does Ticketmaster get away with this crap?

Ticketmaster has been in the news quite a bit lately, and for all of the wrong reasons. Yet, despite the rhetoric of performers, venues and lawmakers, nothing ever seems to be done about all of its wrongdoings.

Ticketmaster SUCKS

Ticketmaster SUCKS

When tickets for the upcoming tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band went on sale in February, potential ticket buyers, myself included, were left out in the cold. It seems that Ticketmaster conveniently decided to perform “routine maintenance” seconds after tickets to see one of the most popular artists in the world were made available for sale. But fear not, fans of The Boss: Tickets were available through TicketsNow, an online ticket broker selling seats at 10 times their face value. In a shocking coincidence, would anyone care to take a guess which company owns TicketsNow? If you guessed Ticketmaster, you are correct, but you win nothing.

Then, as if the entire process of trying to get Yankees tickets for the 2009 season hasn’t been enough of a fiasco, I read about this gem on a blog called New Stadium Insider. Apparently, a potential customer shelled out $900 for a ticket for Opening Day (don’t even get me started on the Yankees’ ticket prices), only to go through the Ticketmaster process and find that he was given a completely different ticket, nowhere near as good as his original seat, while the original ticket was relisted at $2,650. Someone spending $9 on a ticket should be entitled to the location they were promised, much less someone spending $900.

Then this morning, a good friend whom I had e-mailed information about a presale for U2 tickets informed me that Ticketmaster was pulling the exact same scam for U2 that it did for Springsteen — saying the site was down for maintenance and directing people to TicketsNow. Unreal.

Those three examples aside, anyone who has ever tried to get tickets has experienced the following scenario. Say, hypothetically, tickets to see Rush become available at 10 a.m. Why is it that upon getting through to the Ticketmaster system at 15 seconds after 10 a.m., the only seats available in a 20,000-seat arena are in the upper sections? Are we expected to believe that 12,000 or so of the 20,000 seats were sold in 15 seconds? Yet, should you surf to any online ticket broker, the prime seats that were never made available to you are mysteriously right there for the taking — at several times face value, naturally.

I really wish more performers, teams and operators of venues would follow the lead of Pearl Jam 15 years ago and fight Ticketmaster in every way possible. It’s sad that Pearl Jam tried to take a stand in 1994 and, 15 years later, the situation has gotten worse, not better.

Ticketmaster should be brought to its knees. Will anyone have the guts to do it? I doubt it.

Unemployment Nine: Bittersweet deposit

I just got back from depositing a check. Normally, this would be good news for anyone, especially the unemployed, but this one was kind of bittersweet.

Several weeks before my job was yanked from under me, I bought two tickets to see AC/DC at Madison Square Garden. The check I deposited today was the money I received for selling those tickets.

Back in Black

Back in Black

I grew up on AC/DC. Back in Black was one of the first records (yes, records) I ever bought. And I cackled like a 13-year-old the first time I heard “Big Balls,” which was nothing unusual, since I actually was a 13-year-old. The last time I saw them live — in the late 1990s, also at the Garden — they were amazing.

But cuts have to be made somewhere until my situation is stable. And the party for my softball league, during which my team received its championship trophy, was being held the same night. So, the choice came down to the following: $95 plus Ticketmaster charges for the show, or a free three-hour open bar? The open bar won, and I think there’s still some Yuengling left in my bloodstream.

A little bit of the pain was taken away when I saw the set list for the show I would have seen: 14 songs. Weak. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by some of my other favorite artists, like the nearly four-hour marathon shows put on by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and the good solid three hours usually offered by Rush. But 14 songs during your first tour in years? Weak.

I can’t wait until I’m back in a situation where I can do what I want again.