I was so close to pounding out a few sentences the other day in response to Howard Megdal’s latest rant about the Mets raising some ticket prices as much as 7%. I did my best to resist, but Mark Healey’s article today pushed me over the edge and I found myself with a great need to respond to both. You can read Megdal’s entire article at Capital New York, but here’s a little taste from Flushing’s own Anti-Wilpon Crusader (cape optional):
Attendance dropped from 3.16 million in 2009 to 2.56 million in 2010, 2.35 million in 2011 and 2.24 million in 2012. This happened despite steep cuts in ticket prices in each season, along with extensive deals and giveaways just to sell out 2012’s Opening Day and keep the 2012 fan drain to a minimum. So in 2013, the Mets are trying something different: ticket prices are going up. Those fans who renew their 2012 tickets will see no increase in price.
After four straight seasons of cutting ticket prices, and significantly so at that, the team is somehow prohibited from raising prices? Has Mr. Megdal taken a good look at the cost of living index in New York or the National inflation rate? Does he live in a world where fuel costs haven’t risen to peak levels effectively increasing the costs of food, soft goods and durable goods by almost 18% in the last 24 months alone? Where is this fantasy world Mr. Megdal resides in, I would like to live there too.
The problem with agendas is that they cloud your vision. It makes you see only one side of the coin and not both. Imagine piloting a plane with only half a windshield in the cockpit… Imagine walking a tightrope with one eye closed…
Like all businesses in this harrowing economy, the Mets face the same dangers and the same challenges as all the corporations in the rest of this country. The 25% rise in health insurance costs which have contributed to a an epidemic bankruptcy rate nationwide is just another cost the Mets have to contend with. It takes 18.6% more gross revenue to keep the same net profit margins today than it did five years ago. And yet some would have you believe the Mets operate in a vacuum and are immune from the ills of a deteriorating economy and a population that has less disposable income today than they did two years ago.
I guess when you’re a journalism major, macroeconomics, business management and accounting are not exactly the kind of subjects you would master in, but that doesn’t make their reality and impact any less important than the agenda you are trying to push onto your readership.
The Mets have every right to raise ticket prices especially after four consecutive season of slashing prices for their consumers in light of overwhelming rises in supply costs. By the same token, Mets fans have a right to either pay those prices or stay home. Nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head. We live in a free market society and all of us have the ability to make the choices that we feel are best for us. Including you and including the Mets. That’s the beauty of the American ideal, the American ideal I proudly served and defended for six years of my life.
Also, on the subject of the ticket buying public, my friend Mark Healey tossed his hat into the debate with a post entitled, “If You Buy A Season Ticket To See The Mets In 2013, You Are A Schmuck“. I love Mark, me and him occasionally agree and disagree on a myriad of Mets topics all season long on Twitter. We have a mutual respect for each other, but I’m totally on a different planet when it comes to this subject. In this particular piece he writes:
People who choose to go to a Mets game in 2013 might be enabling a clueless, toothless and fraudulent ownership whose only being kept in place because the CEO is a close personal friend of the CEO. But they’re not schmucks either.
The schmucks, to be clear, are the people spend their hard-earned money to subsidize a baseball team that is unwilling and unable to reciprocate that same financial commitment on the field.
Wow. Even if you were to disregard the incendiary allegations he makes against the owners, allegations that have never been proven in a court of law, how can you say such a thing about the ticket buying portion of the Mets fanbase?
I think it’s outrageous. I think that both Howard and Mark speak from years of pent up anger and hatred for Mets ownership. An ownership that has been far from perfect, but certainly not deserving of the vile and angst they are subjected to from some of the same people again and again.
But dragging the fans into this now, is absolutely uncalled for and wrong. Among our most cherished inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness ranks chief among them. We and our families are free to spend as we want, and if taking in a ballgame with our families and children are among those things that give us joy and gratification, we shouldn’t be mocked for it.
If you want to wage your protest against the Wilpons, then get behind Howard Megdal and his million-man march, nobody’s stopping you. If you refuse to buy tickets to see the Mets, feel free to get behind Mark Healey and spend your entertainment money on miniature golf and bowling instead. It’s your money do what you want with it. But please leave the rest of us out of it. I’m not stopping any of you or mocking any of you for doing whatever it is that pleases you, but please grant those of us who disagree with you that same courtesy.