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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Helping Dave Howard Hear the Outrage

Today the New York Post has a brief item about Mets fans who were expecting a 10% cut in ticket prices, but are seeing reductions that are basically a rounding error. Bart Hubbach and Jeremy Olshan quote the ever-reliable Dave Howard, who defends the apparent discrepancy as follows: “It’s very consistent with what we said in the beginning. Obviously, the ‘average’ means there is some higher and some lower, but the average is 10 percent. We haven’t heard outrage about this.”

To help Dave Howard out, I thought I’d share an email that came to us two days ago from a reader named Av. It’s worth quoting at length:

“I am fuming right now and needed to get this off my chest. As we are all aware, last month, Jeff Wilpon held a press conference to discuss the state of the Mets in which he vowed that ticket prices would be cut across the board by an average of 10%. Last year, I shared Mets’ season tickets with a friend for the second straight year. For a pair of seats in Promenade Infield Reserve (what we used to call Upper Deck, behind the plate), we paid $2,025 each. After the disappointing season, we were not sure what we were going to do about renewing for next year, but were comforted to hear that ticket prices would at least be lowered, making it slightly more likely that we would be interested.

“You can imagine my surprise when I opened the ticket invoice and saw that the price of our tickets had been lowered to $1,965 each, a whopping 3% decrease of $60 each for the year. Over the course of the season, that comes out to 75 cents per game! I understand that when they said prices would be lowered by 10% “on average” that it didn’t necessarily mean that every single ticket would go down by exactly 10%. I’m not dumb. But that’s how the Mets are treating me. They tell us that they’re gonna lower tickets by 10% and they lower mine by 3%. I’m sure that they will point to incredibly expensive seats, which they are lowering from something like $500 a ticket to $400 a ticket (so that no normal person can afford them either before or after the price cut, making no difference in the lives of anyone other than corporations) and say that their 20% decrease and my 3% decrease somehow evens out to 10% on average. But trying to convince me with that argument presumes that I’m dumb. And I’m not.

“I am so sick and tired of the Wilpons and the way they run this organization. Every single thing they do — whether it’s the way they pursue free agents, the way they cut prices, the way they build a new ballpark, or the way they more generally do right by their fans — they do halfway. They act in a way that gives the appearance that they’re actually going to do something, yet rarely do anything of real substance. This “price cut” is only the latest in an endless series of symbolic gestures by Mets ownership to the Mets fanbase. They talk like they’re big market but act small.

“I am a truly good, devoted Mets fan. I own season tickets, usually make it to about 20-30 games a year, and watch the rest on TV. I own jerseys, hats, posters, and t-shirts. I can stay up all night talking about the ’99 Mets or what Darryl Strawberry meant to me as a 9 year old child. I am the fan they want. I am the fan they need to keep. But with every little blip like this, they are coming closer and closer to losing that fan. I’m not brazen enough to claim that I’m gonna jump ship and root for some other team or abandon baseball altogether. I know that’s an empty threat. But they’re making me care less about this team. They’re withering away the fan who has spent the last 26 years of his life allowing a baseball team to define his existence and happiness on a day to day basis. They are coming closer and closer to losing that fan and they don’t seem to care. If this trend continues, that fan will be gone and I am 100% certain that this makes me a lot sadder than it does them.”

Hey Dave, did you hear that?

On second thought, Dave, you’re right. Av doesn’t sound outraged. He sounds resigned, and like a fan who’s been conditioned to expect platitudes and empty gestures from the organization behind the team he loves. And really, that’s so much worse than outraged.

In other words, Dave Howard, he sounds a lot like all the rest of us.

23 comments to Helping Dave Howard Hear the Outrage

  • Anonymous

    What did everyone expect? Did those in the upper level expect their seats to be $25 per game going into 2009? I was shocked they were affordable. When they made the initial statement of “average of 10%”, I thought the Promenade Infield Reserve was priced ok considering the times and figured there would be virtually no decrease up there, with the big cuts coming downstairs instead.
    Look at it this way. I expected to pay at least $30 last season for those seats and now they're $24 and change. That's a 19% slash right there!

  • Anonymous

    I'm the guy that Bart Hubbuch was talking with at the Post. My issue doesn't necessarily stem from the lack of a true price cut (tix prices dropped because the number of games per tier was changed)… Face value on most seats will be exactly what they were in 2009 (at least for Promenade).
    My issue is that the Mets take their Season Ticket Holders for granted. Every other team in MLB charges less than gate price for Season Ticket packages, even for seats in the Upper Deck. This includes the Yankees. The Mets offer their season ticket base no premium for buying their tickets in bulk, up front. This is the crux of the issue. How much good will would the Mets have for their fanbase if the average Promenade Reserve Infield ticket cost $20.00 as opposed to $24.00 or Promenade Reserve cost $15.00 as opposed to $18.00? Simply because you took the economic risk of buying a full season in bulk. As I said, just about every other team in MLB and all sports do this. Do the research just in MLB and you will see. Some teams even offer 2 for 1 Season Tickets.
    It's sad. I am not renewing my tickets, not because of price, but because I'm moving to Atlanta. Who, by the way, has some stellar prices for buying in advance.

  • Anonymous

    On the lack of some discount for season ticket holders, I agree with you 100%

  • Anonymous

    Best example is Yanks last season… Offered Grandstand Infield for $25 to ST holders. Advance Individual price was $29 and Gameday price was $30.
    That's about a $350 savings on a full season basis…

  • Anonymous

    It would also be nice if all season ticket holders and plan holders were granted admission to one of the lounge areas during games.
    It's maddening to pay all of the money up front (like Ivan pointed out) and not even be allowed to buy a drink at a ballgame.
    And Av is right on – I'd add my name to his letter if it became a petition.

  • Anonymous

    I meant to say like the anonymous poster pointed out….

  • Anonymous

    I just called the Mets Customer Relations line: (718) 565-4360
    I told them that I read in the paper that David Howard said that the Mets haven't heard any outrage over the ticket prices, and that I was calling to lodge my outrage.
    I'm a season ticket holder with four seats in the Promenade Infield Reserved, and I'm outraged by this invoice with nearly no drop in price at all. I feel like I was lied to and misled, and as a customer I'm fed up with the constant misrepresentations and lies by the Mets. Lying and deceiving is not a way to treat a customer. I don't expect to renew my subscription.
    She said OK, thanks for calling. And we hung up.

  • Anonymous

    The point is the discount is for season tickets only. It's not going to make a bit of difference to the fan who couldn't afford to take the family to a single game last year.
    As far as Howard saying the complaints about the discount being few, he said the same thing about obstructed views from the outfield and at least one corner being out of sight for everyone.
    The Wilpons might know how to maximize profit but they don't know how to maximize a product nor will they really care until those profits start falling a bit.

  • Anonymous

    Let's see if that bit of outrage makes its way up to Mr. Howard.

  • Anonymous

    the one thing i find lacking in av's otherwise eloquent email is an assertion that he isn't re-upping his tickets
    in other news, i have given myself a 100% price reduction on my 2010 15-game plan…ask me how

  • Anonymous

    How much outrage are they looking for? Shall we descent upon Citi Field with torches and pitchforks?

  • Anonymous

    Gentlemen, please! Mr. Howard simply has said he has not heard any outrage about this. That is just because they are working their way through all the outrage that has been created by the 2009 season. Once they get through that they will hear the outrage regarding the 2010 discount kerfuffle. Expect to get through sometime in 2012, if the world hasn't ended by then as per Roland Emmerich.

  • Anonymous

    Send the message to the Mets. Posting the outrage in blogs is one thing (we all seem to share the sentiment and it helps make us more aware), but call or write the Mets directly. Season ticket holder have an account manager. Shoot the messenger, so to speak. If they get chewed out by lots of people (certainly not everyone buying tickets and plans), maybe the message will get to the right place.
    I've probably said this before, and I'll say it here – everything the Mets seem to do with a positive spin on it seems to turn to shit.

  • Anonymous

    I'm really not sure what anyone's upset about. Sure, the tickets are 'expensive' but the cheaper seats are actually quite reasonable, and even those were discounted. The biggest discount came on the tickets hardest to sell. That's just business.
    The Mets weren't just going to say “Ooops, 2009 sucked. here's some money.” Of course, they should still offer a small discount on the entire season. They should think about how to connect with fans better. They should reconsider their access levels for the Excelsior level.
    And as a 'regular' fan, that can't afford 81 games, I suspect since they don't offer season discounts, that these reductions will be reflected in the individual game ticket as well. If I want to 'splurge' It's more reasonable to be able to afford that next level of ticket, that Ceaser's club seat, that Met/Baseline Box seat.
    Honestly, I don't know what people expected, but this was, to the dollar, exactly what I expected the prices to be after the announcement.

  • Anonymous

    Here's what ticks people off, all wrapped up with a pretty bow on it: When the range of possible discounts is so wide, the average is meaningless. Then when the greater discounts, as a percentage, go to the higher priced tickets the average guy gets less than an average discount.
    So if the average ticket is discounted ten percent, and the Average Joe's ticket is discounted three percent, the Fat Cat ticket price is discounted 17%, right?
    Not so fast! There are fewer Fat Cat tickets than there are Average Joe tickets. So if the Average Joe gets a discount of 3%, the average ticket discount is 10%, the Fat Cat ticket gets discounted by more than 17%, probably 20% to 30%, depending on the disparity in number of seats. Of course, those were the ones the Mets couldn't sell, so they had to discount those more to get people to buy them, down from jaw-droppingly over priced to merely eyebrow-raising overpriced.
    It's like saying I'm always either boiling or freezing, but on average I'm at room temperature. The average is meaningless. Like the Average Joe is meaningless to Mr. Howard. The Mets would have been much better served by tossing the “average ticket discount” and just say what the discount will average by level.

  • Anonymous

    Ceetar…
    Discounts for a number of these tickets are simply a result of moving games from Gold to Silver or Bronze. That lowers the 'average' seat price if even you keep face value the same as 2009… For example, the Prom Reserve Infield seats still range from $15 to $25, just like last year, just that there are less $30 games and more $25 and $20 games.

  • Anonymous

    But of course, if you think about it, for every 6 Prom Infield seat the Mets sell, they make the same money on 2 Field Level seats… They make their money off the Field Level prices, not the Prom Prices.

  • Anonymous

    True. But that's just how I took his announcement of it. And it was 100% what I thought they should do in June. those areas taht were priced wrongly were fixed, and they did get rid of some games that were overvalued, in the Gold games. A lot of this is just perception, and I guess they did a bad job conveying the point if most people didn't get what they were saying. But they pretty much sold out Promenade, and the prices are actually pretty reasonable. They adjusted the pricing scheme to better reflect demand, which is exactly what they should've done.
    Unfortunately, baseball, and true NY baseball, is kinda a monopoly. They know they have us, and they know we're going to give them money anyway (Don't give me any of this “I'm not renewing now!” because you thought you were getting a bigger discount. There are always a handful of people taht get fed up with every change, but for everyone of those there are dozens waiting to fill the void. Those seats won't go empty, so the only person losing out on the deal is the person who choses to 'give up' baseball/Citi) and they almost seem to rub it in our faces that they know they have us and don't throw us the bones we think we deserve.
    Waiting the 1971 Mets yearbook and seeing Old Timer's Day and BAnner day and etc.. They need to add in some more of those extraneous fun days, even if plenty of people criticize the idea of there being anything else to do at a ballpark but the 9 innings.

  • Anonymous

    Ceetar…
    That's what I had figured it would end up being as well. My main gripe is that every other team in Major League Baseball offers their Full Season ticket holders (and some plan holders) a discount or 2 for the price of 1 deals over single game, individual face value. Even the Yankees do it…
    Now that takes some balls to not offer a discount.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed. Even a dollar a game. throw 'em a bone. $81 is nothing. Parking passes, something.
    Oh, and something that's nice that coors field does….they used to have their restaurant season ticket holders only, but they opened it up to all…and just gave season ticket holders priority. simple enough you'd think right? Wish they'd do that with the Acela club.

  • Anonymous

    The season ticket non-discount is, surprisingly, not a new development. I briefly moved to Long Island in the early 90s and actually convinced the wife that we should buy season tickets. We were 20 minutes away and could split them with some friends, it would be awesome. I was stunned when I did the math to learn that there wasn't a penny of discount. Why on earth would I invest all that money up front, risk missing who-knows-how-many games due to life intruding or bad weather, without some kind of incentive? That's just terrible business, and it made the decision very easy.
    After a number of years as a 6-pack or 7-game partial plan holder I gave up last year. I wasn't interested in a 15-pack – the minimum allotment. I go to at least that many games every year, but I won't commit to that many specific games in advance. Stuff always comes up. And my family is not going to sit in the rain. (We needed a stupid rotunda, and not a retractable roof?) And the plans sucked, anyway. The so-called “weekend” plan had like 7 weeknight games!
    After the strike I was in the mode Anon. descibes. I didn't give up on baseball, but I didn't really care as much. I went to a handful of games as much for the socializing and outdoor drinking as for rooting. It took Mike Piazza to bring me all the way back. It would take a lot to get me to drift that far again, but the Wilpons are sure trying.

  • Anonymous

    I sent a link to this particular thread to a friend of mine who works in corporate ticket sales who had never heard of FAFIF.