(photo swiped from Mets Today. And to be fair, it was probably taken during batting practice. I hope.)
Over the past week, I’ve linked to stories concerning dismal attendance figures in Baltimore and Washington DC, so it would be remiss on my part not to acknowledge the Mets’ 5-2 defeat of the Cubs was witnessed by an alleged 28,535, though a quick glance at the television screen revealed the actual number of patrons on hand was far fewer. It’s a grim situation when the self-styled baseball capital of the universe can’t host an NL game in a venue that’s at least half full, particularly a ballpark of such recent vintage, but man (and woman) cannot live on Shake Shack alone. Caryn Rose of MetsGrrl addresses the Mets box office woes, and while she’s far more polite than I’d be (my first bit of advice would be “stop sucking”), she’s right on the money when it comes to Citi Field’s ticket pricing and treatment of the few who do bother to show up.
If you want to encourage attendance, here™s what you do:
Sell Standing Room tickets for $5, day of game only, box office only.
Bring back the discounts. $5 upper deck tickets, LIRR discounts, MetroCard discounts, bring a Pepsi can discounts, discounts for students with ID, discounts if you™re unemployed and can prove it.
Cut the service charges for tickets bought online for certain low-demand games. $4 PER TICKET *plus* $5 for the whole order on top of that is highway robbery. Find a way to discount this.
Give season and plan ticket holders a discount for buying tickets.
Give plan holders better seats and stop holding the prime seats for the mythical full season holder that will not arrive for several more years. No one wants to go to a game and sit in rows 14-18 when everything below them is empty. So far I have bought tickets for two games that were in better locations than anything the Mets made available to anyone in my ticket plan bracket.
The problem isn™t who is there, the problem is who isn™t there because the prices or location or associated Dave Howard customer disservice bullshit kept them out. I™m talking about the senior citizens who sat behind us on Saturdays in Section 8 in the Upper Deck who had been at Shea since the year it opened, the retired LIRR conductors who sat in row D of Section 12 on the Mezz, the Latino high school kids who knew how to sneak into the mezzanine boxes when the usher™s back was turned, the schoolteacher and her boyfriend from the Loge who wanted to upgrade to 40 games from 25 until they realized the seating locations were unattractive and there were no playoff rights, and us, who could finally afford and wanted a 40 game plan more than anything but wanted it in the Promenade Reserved Infield, which the Mets will not sell for reasons that escape me.
I’m sure you’ll agree the above constructive critique is far more useful than say, hiring Wally Backman as a professional greeter. Even on the occasions Citi has been filled close to capacity, an uncomfortably large percentage of fans seem disinterested and/or impatient to a degree that put the most acutely ADD-afflicted to shame.