Celebrating Shea?

An article by posted on April 17, 2014

shea night

On April 18th during a home series versus the Braves, the Mets will honor Shea by reducing tickets to 1969 era prices. For $3.50 you can get a ticket in the promenade outfield and for $19.64 you can plop your fanny into a baseline box seat!  $3.50 is about what you might expect to pay for a slice and a soft drink nowadays so it’s a sweet deal no doubt. You could conceivably take a family of 4 to the game, (stuffing a few bags of chips and juice bags into the kids’ pockets if you’re really cheap), all for 14 dollars – that’s about the cost of a Walking Dead boxed set, or a Millennium Falcon bottle cap opener … Shoot, you can even get a plastic shark with a frickin laser beam ($12.99) for only slightly less!

It is a killer whale of a deal no doubt, but like a lot of things these days this rollback confuses and perplexes me. Box seats to a Mets game are supposed to cost what an inflatable R2-D2 remote controlled droid costs, (foot pump included) — $47.99, but apparently, that’s also the price of a cup of coffee. Oh sure it’s a venti 48-shot mocha frappuccino soy, mocha drizzle, protein powder, caramel brulee topping with strawberry, two bananas, caramel drizzle, with frappuccino chips and vanilla bean ($47.30) at Starbucks, but still, it’s a cup of coffee!

So maybe regular priced box seats at Citi are not such a bad deal? Have I been away from N.Y. too long? By the way, that amount is also more or less the price of 4 ounces of quality tea in China … But what does any of this have to do with the price of baseball in Queens? Lots. The Wilpons are still scrambling to bring fans to the ballpark, and they’re getting desperate from the looks of it. Celebrating Shea? If you loved Shea so much Mr. Wilpon why did you tear it down?

new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson

You see, if I understand this correctly, the Wilpons need our support so that they can buy better baseball players. It’s a reasonable request I suppose, it’s our duty as Mets fans right?

That’s how it works, we trust the Wilpons with our hard earned cash … (trust – that’s a loaded word isn’t it?). They then take our money and in their infinite wisdom apply it to improving the team through the most prudent and exceptional means available to them.

They will not invest in ponzi schemes, they will not take players on meaningless helicopter rides, they will not sign players like Jason Bay or Bobby Bonilla, or Kaz Matsui, they will not gamble our money away or use it to buy waffle chips and beer or a brand new schooner for Jeff. I mean, just look at Jeff Wilpon he’s got a face you could trust if I ever saw one.

See the Mets are a blue collar organization … some of them even live in Queens. There are even indications that Mets ownership encourages their players to live in Queens, you figure the less they pay in rent the less the Mets have to pay them right? Makes sense. As reported by Gary Busio in the Post last spring, unlike Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez,  many Mets actually reside in Long Island City (for thousands less per month than what they would pay to live in Trump Tower or the Aldyn) …

instead of paying up to $18,000 per month (more or less the price of a new 2014 Toyota Prius) to live in a Manhattan penthouse, many of our players (and Mr. Collins himself) live in a Queens high-rise called the Avalon Riverview for a far more reasonable $2,300 to $5,200 per month (the price of a 2001 Ford Focus).

There is even a  Salon and Spa for player wives and girlfriends, where manicures run $15, a leg wax is $50, and a men’s haircut starts at $30. “The guy with the gray hair — the manager — he just came back,” a hairstylist at the shop said. “He’s a good customer!” So for the price of a box seat at Citi, Terry Collins can get his legs waxed! That’s not a bad deal at all.

caesars citi

I admit that many of our new fangled MLB venues are appealing to the eye and nose (and taste-buds), but not so much to the pocketbook. The problem is that Mets marketing has been trying to sell tickets at Manhattan penthouse prices without considering their stadium is located in Queens. Know your target audience, business 101 right?

As the National League’s blue collar descendant of the Giants and Dodgers, the Mets, from their inception, drew a working class clientele. Someone in the Mets hierarchy with a business acumen above 10th grade economics obviously realized the error in their approach and convinced the Wilpons to scale back prices.

They appear to have doubled special offers, and they instituted “dynamic pricing” intended (from what I gather) to unload tickets against low-interest opponents at low-interest prices. But one problem that remains is the blatant “stratification” of the crowd itself. so many “special” nooks and crannies reserved for the beautiful people, so many luxury boxes set aside for the jet set, so many “exclusive” clubs with the stanchions and the fuzzy ropes out front, so many “sterling” options dividing the poor slob from the rich, the really rich, and the ludicrously rich …

Sad really. One thing I miss about Shea was the feeling that we were all in one big rocking Mets melting pot.

But for a day at least you can forego the leg waxing or the most expensive cup of coffee in the world and not only take yourself to a game but bring the family and maybe even have some cash left over for that pedicure. You never know, you might even get to sit next to Terry Collins.

mmo

About the Author ()

I’ve been a Met fan since August 1969 when a fire resulted in the Red Cross placing my family on the 6th floor of a building in Willets Point. I could see Shea from our balcony and I knew something big was going on. I followed them through the dark years and the resurgence of the 80’s only (sadly) to miss the fall of 86 because I was in Boot Camp. I've been serving penance ever since in Minnesota where I'm an SLP. I've written a lot about the Mets in an effort to share with my kids (and anyone else who might listen), a sporting tradition that made much of my childhood worthwhile. Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewBalasis

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