The Real Difference Between Mets and Yankee Fans – We Can Sit With Each Other

By Paul DiSclafani

AP / Julie Jacobson
AP / Julie Jacobson

Well, know we know how they really feel.

Back in 2009, both New York teams were blessed with new stadiums.  The Mets replaced the aging Shea Stadium with Citi Field and the Yankees replaced the iconic Yankee stadium with, well, a bigger, more modern Yankee Stadium.  The differences were staggering.  Citi Field was designed with the fan’s ballpark experience in mind.  The new Yankee Stadium was designed as a shrine to the storied Yankee tradition and built like a monument to their greatness.

Both team’s created “premium” sections behind home plate that were way over priced for the average fan, but the Yankees (as usual) took things to another level.  They created a premium section that was priced at about $2,500 per ticket, but it was also completely separated from the rest of the paying customers and enclosed in a way that the Yankee fans called “The Moat”.  There is no physical way to get from the premium seats to the rest of the stadium and the Yankees wanted it like that.  A true separation of church and state, I guess.

Granted, there must be a market inside the stadium for that kind of premium experience, but there always seem to be empty seats even though the Yankees lead the majors in attendance every year, drawing over 3 million last year.

Once again, the Yankees are taking things to the next level.  Only this time, we know how they really feel about the other 50,000 fans in the stadium.

This week, the Yankees announced that they were suspending the practice of allowing fans to purchase tickets  with the convenience of “Print-At-Home” because they want to protect you, the true Yankee fan, from purchasing “bogus” or “counterfeit” tickets.  Really?

Guess this has nothing to do with the Family Feud they have been having with STUBHUB, does it?  You see, MLB signed an agreement with STUBHUB a few years ago to partner with them as the only authorized secondary ticket reseller.  But the Yankees wanted no part of it.  Not because they didn’t like the idea that fans could make money reselling their prized ducats at a higher price than they were getting but for the opposite reason, they didn’t want their tickets being sold at a lesser price.

As a baseball fan, you know that you can get tickets priced way below face value for some teams on the secondary market.  Heck, you could get Mets tickets early last season for just a few bucks to some games.  And if you are traveling to another city, is there a better way to get tickets to out-of-town games than on STUBHUB?

But the Yankees have partnered with Ticketmaster as their official ticket reseller because they institute a price floor for tickets – they will never sell tickets under a certain percentage of the face value.  That means that if you want a break on Yankee tickets, even to meaningless games, you can’t get them.

Since the Yankees are not partners with STUBHUB like most of the rest of the world, they have not agreed to the Application Programming Interface (API) that STUBHUB would need to allow their customers to download their tickets to their mobile devices.  Since the Yankees are no longer allowing paper print-at-home tickets, you need to either have the card-stock original ticket or a ticket delivered via API to a mobile device ticket to get in.  And only the Yankees and Ticketmaster can give you the mobile option.

You could still buy the tickets from STUBHUB, but you can’t have them sent to your house or print them at home.  You need to travel to the STUBHUB ticket office in the Bronx, somewhere near the stadium, where they can print your tickets on card stock.  Ever been to the Bronx “somewhere” near Yankee Stadium?  Sheesh…

Of course, the Yankees official reason continues to be that this prevents fraud and insures that their fans have valid tickets.

But COO Lonn Trost went on the radio the other day and gave a slightly different reason.  Seems that the Yankees want to “protect” their premium customers from sitting with the riff-raff that bought tickets at a highly discounted rate.

“The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a premium ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money, it’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and another fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sit’s there. It’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount.”

I guess good ole Lonny thinks the people who sit in those seats actually paid for them.  Do you think the premium section is filled with millionaire’s that love the Yankees so much they would spend $2,500 for a single ticket?  Isn’t it more likely that high-end companies buy those tickets and give them to their customers to increase their business?

But Lonn works for the Yankees, is paid by the Yankees and buys into the “Yankee Way”.  Everyone in baseball thinks the Yankees are elitist and it is one of the reasons they are the most hated franchise in all of sports.  And although they won’t admit it and their fans won’t admit it, our old pal Lonn laid it out for us in one simple sentence as a follow-up to his last comment:

“And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location, so that is a frustration to our fan base.”

And there you have it.  It is frustrating to the Yankee fan base that people who pay below value for a seat in the premium area would not know how to actually sit in a premium location seat.  May I remind you that this is the Yankee COO?  I guess there is a specific secret protocol to sitting in the premium location.  Maybe we just don’t know the secret hand-shake?

So all of you Yankee fans, who by the way are still paying top dollar for seats that aren’t in the premium section, are not allowed or wanted in the premium section.  Kind of reminds you of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine was thrown out of the stadium for sitting in the Owner’s Box for wearing a Baltimore Orioles hat.

The Mets may not have 27 World Championships or one tenth of the success that the Yankees have had on the field, but at least we can sit anywhere we want in our ball park.  What a joke…

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