Things have been pretty quiet on the sports front this winter for me.  I’ve been focused on selling my house (and buying a new one) and simply getting through this ridiculously cold stretch that seems to be going on forever.  I was almost lulled to sleep, until… I got this gem posted by ‘Jeff’ to my season ticket refusal letter.  It started off like this:

I bet your kicking yourself in the ass for not renewing. But I’ll thank you for not renewing because I happened to become a season ticket holder just this past year and man was it a fun team to watch. Not to mention the fact they won the World Series.

Good… Good…  I like the energy.  I like the looks of the horse he’s riding in on, too.  And I especially like the breaking news about the Red Sox winning the World Series.  It’s always fun to hear the new Red Sox fans take on an edge.  What’s really nice is that he then goes on to teach me a lesson about how life works.

You need to understand something, baseball is a business. There is a reason they charge the prices they do, because they can and people will pay it. Unfortunately yes that does price out many fans, but by lowering the price doesn’t mean those less fortunate will necessarily get to go to games, because the rich can still buy up all of those cheaper tickets, sell them to stub hub and then the poor still have to pay high prices. If you can’t afford the tickets thats one thing, but don’t bitch simply because the Sox ownership is raising the prices too high. Its called supply and demand.

Sassy and informative.  But there’s more!

I can’t afford my whole package of tickets so I share them with friends, I make it work because I love the team and I always want to be a part of them, win or lose. I may not have been born in 1986, but I’ve still watched every pitch of that series.

He tells me how to make season tickets work economically.  He also gives me a sense of how old he is – which is great because now I can kind of picture this guy.  In fact, I know this guy.  And I know his Facebook page is flooded with selfies at Fenway (and probably comments on his own pictures with congratulatory comments about ‘his’ seats).  But I digress…

If you expect a good team on the field year in and year out, they will expect to keep making money.

This here is the saddest line of the whole comment.  He tips his hand. He admits his resignation.  With this one line he hands over his wallet to the ownership of the Boston Red Sox.   ‘If you expect a good team’, and he does, ‘they will expect to keep making money’.  Exactly.

Baseball is indeed a business.  No one is in it for charity.  But different teams operate differently.  Some offer competitive but fair prices (and a competitive team) because they know their fans not only love baseball, but they also have limited money available to spend on entertainment.

Other teams simply go for the jugular.  Other teams cater to wealthy individuals, image drunk 20-somethings, corporations, and the so-called secondary market because (like my thoughtful reader Jeff accurately points out) someone’s gonna pay the bill.

Whoring to the almighty dollar is one way of living.  I can’t object to that other than to say that I choose not to live that way.  But happily complying to someone else’s money-grabbing obsession is a disgrace.  Jeff is just another mindless pawn in the game. I feel sorry for him.  But in another more accurate way I blame him.  The more Jeffs there are in the world, the more baseball will slide down to the lowest common denominator.  The more people (like Jeff) that are successfully seduced by the PR nonsense that teams like the Red Sox desperately shove in fan’s faces all year long, the more teams will try to brand you with pink hats, Neil Diamond, and ‘priceless’ souvenirs of your witness to the true marketing ascendancy of billionaires (taking your money).

The real problem with Jeff’s position is that it will ultimately ruin the Major Leagues.  The more people that resign to the oppressive economics of professional baseball, the more the big market teams will be able to get away with it.  The rules already bend their way.  With the support of the people, it will only continue in that direction.  New York always wins free agency.  Boston rakes in regional TV revenues.  Los Angeles now even fares better in the draft.   Jeff will help secure the next level of codified imbalance.

Good job, Jeff.  And thanks for securing the destruction of our National Pastime.

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