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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 [1]: “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.