Thursday was the Yankees' first official day of spring training, when pitchers and catchers report. This should have been a fun, exciting day for us Bombers fans who haven't seen baseball since October. But instead, Yankees COO Lonn Trost managed to make headlines that day for all the wrong reasons, as I discussed yesterday.
You've heard me say this a hundred times about the Hal Steinbrenner regime in Yankeeland. Since Prince Hal neither really has a fan's interest in the Yankees, nor any business sense short of being a member of the Lucky Sperm Club, he allows the inmates to run the asylum. And that's how you have somebody like Trost, an elitist twit who has said so many dumb things over the years, speaking for the team and stepping all over the first day of spring training. All because he was apparently ticked off over what the tabloids and bloggers like yours truly said about the team's new ticket policy. Ha!
Per Roger Kahn's 'Rickey & Robinson,' Lonn Trost is carrying on
a grand premium seat tradition. pic.twitter.com/fSo8eoabY6
— Greg Prince (@greg_prince) February 19, 2016
Trost's quote was all over the media last night. Does Prince Hal agree with him? Is anybody in the organization going to rebuke the COO for it? The only followup I've seen from the team was in this morning's New York Daily News: "A Yankee spokesman said Trost meant no offense by the comment." That's it? Not even a quote with a person's name attached? That's unacceptable. Trost insulted the team's fan base. He needs to apologize, and/or lose his job. Enough!
There are a few more things I wanted to point out about this controversy. The first is a quote that Faith and Fear in Flushing's Greg Prince highlighted from Roger Kahn's book Rickey & Robinson. It's about why the Yankees took so long to integrate the team. It was eight long years after Jackie Robinson for the Yanks to bring up an African-American player -- Elston Howard. And part of the reason is that George Weiss feared that having black players would bring in black fans that would alienate the rich, white fans. Oy. That was an ugly part of the team's history. And Trost's awful quote, whether it is race-based or class-based or both, harkens back to that attitude.
The second was my friend Steve's point about season ticket sales. Steve, a former season ticketholder, wrote about this situation in his Was Watching Yankee blog about the idea that a season ticketholder with a premium seat would be mad if somebody sitting next to him paid less money:
It doesn’t matter to me if the Yankees charged me $90 and they charged some other guy $90 – and then that other guy went out and decided to sell his ticket for $2. That’s his problem, not mine. In fact, it’s REALLY not my problem. I had season tickets to the Yankees from 2001 through 2014. And, a big part of why I gave them up after FOURTEEN YEARS was the fact that no one wants to pay face value for a Yankees ticket anymore and I was taking a beating on games where I couldn’t attend. And, that’s probably the Yankees real problem. People like me will no longer buy their tickets because of the secondary market. That’s why they want to shut down the secondary market.
The answer? Don’t charge so much for tickets that it makes it so attractive to buy them on the secondary market at such a cheap rate. Or, put a product on the field that makes people want to see the games so bad that they would never consider selling their tickets. It’s all about supply and demand. Create the demand for the supply and the market will take care of itself.You know, this is New York. Where people brag about getting deals and paying less for something than others. And I think what it comes down to in Yankeeland is that Yankee fans got tired of paying full price for tickets, especially when, as Steve points out, they would lose so much money on the season tickets they couldn't use. The only advantage to having any sort of season ticket plan is the ability to get playoff tickets. But when the team has had exactly one postseason game in the last three years, that doesn't really matter much anymore, now does it?
And finally, if this alleged ticket fraud that Trost keeps on harping on is such an issue, then why hasn't Ticketmaster dumped print-at-home tickets completely? Instead, they STILL offer this as an option. It says right there on their website: "It’s your tickets, your way: Print at home OR get in with your smartphone. You decide! Just remember: While you can print the same ticket you put on your phone, the first one scanned at the venue is the only one that will work." Yet Trost claimed yesterday that "multiple people" were getting into Yankee Stadium with the same ticket. Hmmmm. Sounds like he played fast and loose with the truth!