Dodgers Ticket Deals Insult Me (and Probably Military Personnel)

I’m not easily insulted.  Being a college football evangelist, advertising agency veteran and a husband, I have no problem having a passionate argument or dealing with a situation where you might need to swallow your pride.  That said, the Dodgers are insulting me.  I take it personally for every single fan out there, or those of you who are about to abandon ship.

Recently, after the entire LA media criticizes Frank’s silence until they were blue in the face, Frank says his sons now are cool with him talking and he decides, hey, I’m gonna go on the radio and try to sell us all on the impossible sell:  that it is somehow Major League Baseball’s fault that the team will not meet payroll this month because he has a deal in place that looks like a lot of money on paper, but in so in Fox’s favor it would make our payroll now seem like we’re swimming in a caviar infinity pool.

And that’s assuming Frank decided to magically stop being the kind of person who charges his own team for rent in a stadium he owns.

So, last week I was critical of a PR move the Dodgers rolled out just after the Seals took out Osama.  They offered two free pavilion tickets to military personnel.  I took offense to this because I support the troops.  Let’s get it straight, Dodger Stadium is the emptiest it has ever been.  They don’t even post the phony attendance like they normally do (the stadium often looks a little empty at the top, but they announce paid attendance and frankly Dodger Stadium is enormous at 56K+ capacity).

So let’s examine the value of two tickets given to our military personnel.  Well, if you look at the fact so much of the stadium is being unused, I would say the tickets are not very valuable.  I mean, in a world where they teach you supply-and-demand in your first econ class, tickets that WILL NOT BE USED carry no value, whether the Dodgers say they are worth $20, $30 or $100.  Imagine how I feel, a 7 year season ticket holder.

So, our troop and his/her guest arrives at the stadium and must pay $15 for parking.  They must then pay for peanuts, a couple Dodger Dogs and god-forbid two cold ones for a job well done.  So the seats are of no value because no one is using them and the game is on television for free.  The only reason to come to the ballpark is to get the ballpark experience (or because you are a Dodger masochist like myself).  The ballpark experience is an iconic Dodger Dog, some beer, some peanuts and singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame (which is still free for the moment).

Basically, for serving our country, you are given the choice of sitting in silence watching a team that is 17-20 play baseball for $15 (parking) and not eating anything, or you’ve just been given a bill for about $100 dollars.

Now I am not saying Frank should give troops $200 dollars worth of vouchers for free, I mean, he has a business to run (sorry I just spit coffee on my keyboard).  I would suggest this to a man who said on Mason and Ireland last week that he needed to “win back” his fans.  Next time you want to do something nice for the troops, do a better job making it seem like you care (a good rule of thumb for being the owner of something people love).   Let the troops park for free in a spot no one is using anyway.  Give them a free Dodger Dog and a Coke (which cost you very little) and truly just give them the opportunity to come to Chavez Ravine for a night off from their lives with a hot dog and a Coke.  If they wanna eat more or drink more, make them pay.  They’ll be happy to.  They understand.  In the least, just cover a reasonable night at the park for them and stop pretending this is doing them a favor.

It’s all even harder to believe when we “celebrate Ethier’s 30 game hit streak” by making field level seats $30 dollars.  Again, fellas.  An unused seat is not worth anything.

But the ultimate patronization came yesterday for me when I got asked to fill out a Dodger survey.  I have a long history of ignoring surveys, but this one seemed to be about fan experience.  In fact, check it out:

“We are working to improve the fan experience” it reads.  I think, maybe Frank realized the military discount was bogus and wants to get our feedback on some new ways to make the stadium more fun.  I am thinking I can give him this list:

  1. Sell the team.
  2. Stop playing “I Love L.A.” before games.  We have been below .500 since you started doing this and those of us that give a shit about tradition only want to hear it AFTER we win (which would happen more if you followed suggestion number one)
  3. Stop playing Journey in the 8th inning.  We stole it from a number of teams, the singer of the band is a Giant fan and if I see the same Jack Black lookalike do the truffle shuffle to this song one more time I’m going to kidnap an orphan and blame my insanity on the Dodgers.
  4. Stop playing 90s butt rock music every chance you get.  More Nancy Bea.  More current music.  Less Sunset Strip in 1992.  Everyone was on cocaine then, which is why that music worked for everyone.  I guarantee the people presenting the game have bleached tips and are really excited Motley Crue is headlining the Sunset Strip Music Festival this year.  Use the internet.
Those would have been my suggestions had they actually wanted to hear them.  No.  This survey was pretty simple.  How many games did you go to last year.  How many this year.  A little warm up until they basically just asked how we’d be interested in a “Family Zone”, where there are no details other than that no alcohol would be served.  Yeah, Frank.  That’s the problem.  Alcohol.  What on earth do you think makes watching this team bearable right now.  This is like taking away our rifles in a skirmish.  Remember your three goals for the organization you used to talk about before you got divorced?  One of them was making Dodger Stadium the most entertaining, family friendly park in the country.  One beaten Giants fan, one MLB takeover and thousands of empty seats later, you are vetting with fans a “Family Zone”.  Priceless.
The problem is you, big guy.  Even if you are right that a lot of the rumors about you aren’t facts, one thing that is a fact is you turned it into a circus.  Even worse, a circus no one wants to attend anymore (see empty seats).  I keep going for Matt Kemp and Andre, for Clayton and Kuroda.  I go to watch Sir James Carroll get dirty and play the game right.  You, Frank, are making it hard for me to do that.  I will not abandon my team, but I will drink my beer at the Shortstop before the game to stop you from charging me an arm and a leg.  I will bring in a bag full of peanuts and food to not let you get anymore into my pocket than you already have.  The siege hath begun.
So when asked what I felt about your latest attempt to fill empty seats, this time, a “Family Zone”, here was my response to WHY I was not interested:  “because my seats are awesome and i think the idea of a “family zone” from an owner who ripped the team apart in divorce is hilarious, but not in that cool brooklyn way”.
Good night and good luck.

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