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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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Six Seats Suddenly Available

As the Mets go about their alphabetical roster restocking — Alex Cora…Chris Coste…Chuck Cottier? — they'll have to do it without five of their longtime ticketholders. A Mets fan and FAFIF reader sent us the note below the other day explaining why he and his friends will not be renewing their seats.

I don't know whether this group, whose letter was signed “Amazings NY,” has reconsidered its decision based on the subsequent securing of clubhouse wise man Cora or eternal Phillie Coste (or, for that matter, the definitive deletion of Brian Schneider), but I kind of doubt it. Since we ran a letter like this a little while back, I thought it was fair to run this one, too. That said, if anybody wants to send us a “I just bought season tickets for the first time, it will be worth every penny” missive, we'll be happy to consider it for publication.

In the meantime, edited only for clarity, here is the story of Amazings NY and why you won't see them regularly at Citi Field in 2010.

***

First off, I never blogged or used the Internet to voice my opinion before. Maybe you can run this on your blog if you see fit.

We are a syndicate of five lifetime Met fans related through blood, marriage or friendship who have been season ticket holders since the early nineties when our paychecks finally allowed us some disposable income. Our full season 4 seats steadily improved over the years. In the past decade we added 2 more seats for half a season. Over the years we had a few additions and subtractions to the group, [but] the core never changed. We went together, we went with our own families. If no one went we gave the tickets away. Sold a few. There were no worries.

It was a sweet setup. For a couple of grand a year, we went when we wanted and had a blast. There were good years and bad years, but we were certainly part of the “Flushing Faithful”.

This year [2009] everything changed; to keep our seats, the prices quadrupled. The seats were so expensive that we could no longer treat them as whimsically as we had in the past. We had to commit to games well in advance, we would sell the seats we weren't using. We could not afford to give them away as we always had (apologies to friends and coworkers who had benefited). Then the season went south; OK I understand a team can have injuries, but look at the Yankees and Phillies, they finished the season with essentially the same teams as they started the season (losing Chien-Ming Wang was more likely a blessing than a curse). Were these Met injuries a freak of nature or did this uncover a team of poor design? Probably both. But this is a discussion for another day.

It was a hard team to watch. Not because the team was losing. We're Met fans, we have agonized over losing seasons before. Sloppy play at every level (Ryan Church missing third base, Luis Castillo dropping the last out against the dreaded Yankees). This time was different. There were no prospects to root for. They put Daniel Murphy in a position to fail, as opposed to most teams which take care to place rookies in a position to succeed. Watching washed up mercenaries are hardly a draw. Remind me how Sheffield fits into our future? Fernando Tatis? Livan Hernandez? Where were the players to root for? Luis Castillo makes me ill. He is the only non-Yankee in the 2009 Yankee highlight reel.

Was it incompetence or was the team disingenuous as they communicated the injuries to the fans? Either way it was pathetic and another example of ownership and management's disregard for their fan base. The new stadium is beautiful, and a great tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field. Another slap in the face to the lifetime Met fan.

So our season ticket renewals came in two weeks ago. They are offering our seats to us at a 6.5% discount to last year. The same seats we could not sell for half their face value for the last three months of the season. The Mets have put their fans in a position to carry all the risk. There is little upside to the seats with their nosebleed prices. Did they offer a credit for last years dismal showing? Of course not. Where is the goodwill? The Mets have left their season ticket holders out to dry.

The Mets will have to wake up to some cold facts: This is no longer the maiden season in Citi Field, that the Mets lost 92 games last year, they are not a likeable team, and the Met fans endured the team choking in September the two preceding seasons. Any young New York baseball fans are going to naturally gravitate to the world champion Yankees. We are living through the worst recession of our lives and Bernie Madoff and his buddies will not be there to keep demand up for high-priced tickets.

So our syndicate after 17 years is not going to renew any of our 6 season tickets. The lack of goodwill on the part of the Mets has morphed into ill will on the part of these season ticket holders. Interestingly, I have a handful of season ticket holding friends, all of whom came to the same conclusion.

My fear is that there will be a Knick-ization of the Mets. My dislike for the Knicks' ownership, management and players has led me to attend a total of one Knick game in the last ten years. I am someone who at one time watched every Knick game. So the precedent is there and it scares me.

I probably don't speak for everyone, but I would rather root for Mets who came up through the organization, than the high-priced mercenaries who never live up to expectations. Yes I'm talking to you Pedro, Oliver, Luis…let's rebuild a farm system. Trade high priced players at the trading deadline for prospects when we're not contending. Have you seen the Atlanta organization? They have 5 legitimate top starters: Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Javier Vazquez. The Florida Marlins have an exciting young core with Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Chris Coghlan (NL Rookie of the Year), Jorge Cantu (100 RBIs). Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco both had more than 190 strikeouts and Chris Volstad has looked spectacular at times. The Phillies have gone to the World Series the last two years. Are we looking at fourth place in the NL East?

I urge the fans: Do not renew, do not buy tickets. Let the Mets carry some risk, let the Mets show some goodwill to their fans. Trust me, you will be able to buy the tickets on the secondary market at half the price. Once you renew, if prices drop, you won't see it.

21 comments to Six Seats Suddenly Available

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree with everything the writer says. Being a season ticket holder in NY sports is turning into a losing proposition, whatever the team. Next year the area will have five major sports teams in relatively new venues, and the only one from which I have not heard dire complaints is the Devils. The Nets will eventually be in a place, but no one in their right mind expects to pay more than a pittance to watch this team play.
    At the end of this season you could buy Mets tickets for as little as $1 on StubHub. I really believe that will be my preferred method of purchasing Mets tickets. I know Jets season holders who are giving up their seats in the New Meadowlands and will purchase via StubHub instead.
    Loyalty is a two way street. So is risk sharing. Make the fan pay big bucks up front and don't deliver, don't expect the fans to come back for seconds.

  • Anonymous

    My dad and I had season tickets in the Loge (and, ugh, Excelsior) since 2005 – we bought in when Omar, Pedro, Carlos and Willie arrived.
    Yet after an unbelievable email from the Mets, in which they implied that some VIP tour of Citi Field and the slightest of price cuts would make up for the last year of financial/fan pain (after a few before it), that was it for our tickets, too.
    Here's the letter, complete with a few typos – I dashed it off late on a Friday night…
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2766/4151682390_bff998b8e6_o.jpg

  • Anonymous

    Good move. You can still be a good Mets fan and go to all the games you want without paying up front for those cold weather April nights!
    Unless this team breaks out exceptionally quickly in 2010, I'm pretty confident you could buy tickets on StubHub for all 81 games and come out ahead of a season ticket holder. The triple-face value premium games get balanced out by $10 weeknights very, very quickly.
    The biggest benefit of season tickets – the playoff rights – has been compromised anyhow. The last few (strong) seasons, the Mets offered those late season packs with guaranteed playoff rights and I have little doubt they'll do this again with all these season ticket holders making wise choices to pull back. This is a really good way to go if the team turns out strong and you want to go to playoff games.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Thanks for posting a sensible letter from a fan fortunate enough to have been able to indulge in season tickets.
    The author of this letter addresses the issues quite clearly. It wasn't just economics and the declining quality of play that caused his group not to renew their season plan. It was also a refusal to hand over any more big bucks to an ownership that fosters a total disregard and lack of goodwill toward it's fan base.
    Business is business so the only way for the Wilpons to do a turn-around is to recognize it is in their own self-interest to bring the game back to the fans in terms of affordability and priorities. He is right -the only way this will occur is for fans to finally take a stand and stop coming as they had in the past. IMHO, corporations and individuals were foolish enough to go along with the outrageous prices for tickets, parking, food and souvineers and contributed mightly to these rising costs.
    And I've said it before many times – Citifield is a reflection of the Wilpon priorities. It is less a ballpark and more a shopping mall. Little effort was spent on how fans could better enjoy the game compared to how fans could better seperate more from their wallets.
    Why else does every seat have an obstructed view? Why was the integrity of the game sacrificed for gimmicks (i.e., stands jutting out too far, crazy outfield walls, overhangs and distances)? Why was SNY showing fans parading around restaurants and stores while YES was showing them in their seats watching the game instead?
    The answer is obvious – maximum profit first, baseball second and a sense of responsibility to the average working family a very distant third.

  • Anonymous

    This letter makes a lot of sense. When Wilpon/Doubleday arrived, an exciting team was built around homegrown players augmented with smart trades. Now they skimp on the draft so they can spend a ton of money to try to sign the players other teams develop for them, or just pay stupid money to losers like Ollie, Castillo, Sheffield and so on.
    The Wilpons built a business model around soaking fans for every dollar. It works when you have the success to back that up (see the Yankees and Red Sox), but when you have inept management, it's a Ponzi scheme just like Madoff.
    I fear this team will never win until the Wilpons depart, and with the Yankees back to winning, the Mets will probably lose another generation of fans.

  • Anonymous

    I should have figured this post was from Greg, Greg writes like George Contanza channeling Ernest Hemingway. That's not a complement. Greg to whom treacle is a beverage.
    Sorry your “syndicate” could no longer make money off your seats. Buy a smaller package or “don't” go. Not a fan of the Wilpons at all. I won't ever step foot in the “Rotunda”
    Whine, whine whine. Find another team to root for…I think the Bulls are bowl eligible again…maybe Greg can help you get tickets for them on the cheap.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Anonymous (if that is indeed your real name), try reading it again, from the beginning this time. We'll wait.

  • Anonymous

    I've compiled a spreadsheet of 2010 Season Ticket Prices for MLB teams and the Mets prices in the Field Level are really off the charts compared to all but the Yankees. It's a shame and disturbing that the Mets are the only team in MLB that does not offer a real discount on tickets off the individual ticket prices. Most teams offer around 15% off for the Upper Levels and 30% off face for Field Levels for buying up-front and in bulk…
    The Mets are a joke.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets have completely priced themselves out of reality. I am sure they look at it as “Hey, our seats are cheaper than the Yankees'”, but as nauseous as it makes us all, the Yankees have built an iconic brand that will sustain such markup. Tourists come in from overseas just to go to Yankee Stadium. Even if the Mets hadn't shamefully shat the bed the past three years they couldn't charge those prices. They should be charging Philly prices. Although Philly has the goodwill of 3 consecutive playoff appearances and 2 WS. We have Johan every fifth day.
    A lot of tickets are going to go unsold this year. This guy isn't alone – season ticket sales weren't great last year, and with the new stadium novelty having worn off and playoff prospects dubious, they'll sell even fewer. Stubhub and its ilk are going to be overflowing with discount tickets the Mets themselves dump there, so the few brave season-ticket holders will be unlikely to recoup much on the secondary market. I'll be buying all of mine there again this year.
    What a disaster. Three teams in the division are solidly better than us. I don't think anyone would be surprised by another desultory campaign. Your contributor is right – barring some kind of miracle turnaround the Mets are losing another generation of fans to the forces of evil. The Yankees talk about trading for Halladay, we're looking at Randy Wolf and Joel Pineiro.
    Geez, now I'm depressed.

  • Anonymous

    Is there no end to the kick in the nuts that is 2009? Now the Braves have signed Wagner. of course, he'll save 40 games for them next year.

  • Anonymous

    Wagner will help Atlanta as much as he did the Bosox in game three against the Angels.

  • Anonymous

    Wagner helps the Red Sox more in giving them the 20th pick plus a Sandwich Pick…

  • Anonymous

    “Stubhub and its ilk are going to be overflowing with discount tickets the Mets themselves dump there”.
    Hi Kingman,
    Do the Mets actually dump unsold tickets onto Stubhub? Is it even legal for original ticket brokers to sell them through the secondary market at all?
    Legal or not, I wouldn't put it past the Wilpons to do so. They well deserve the harsh criticism for charging so much already so imagine what it would be if prices were reduced only to be raised back up when the demand returned? Selling tickets at reduced prices on the sneak enables them to retain high ticket prices when the demand is high.

  • Anonymous

    Leave it to Mets management to turn a brand-new glittering baseball palace into a boring, overpriced disappointment. Which also very aptly describes the current roster, too.

  • Anonymous

    I'm thinking I won't renew, either — and I've “only” got a Saturday (+) Plan.
    That alone might guarantee a playoff appearance… ;-)

  • Anonymous

    That agreement pertains to season ticket holders wanting to re-sell them in the secondary market. It does not allow clubs to dump unsold tickets at discounted prices,
    From that article:
    “StubHub has promotional agreements with nearly 30 professional and collegiate sports teams, but the partnership deal with Major League Baseball is different in that it allows the online ticket marketplace to share space on team websites.
    “Fans could go to the websites to buy tickets sold directly by the team OR RESOLD BY OTHER FANS VIA STUBHUB. StubHub typically charges sellers a fee equal to 15 percent of the sale price and buyers a 10 percent fee.”

  • Anonymous

    Ano Nymous that's me. I know that the writer of the “embedded” post about the six seats available was not Greg. Hence the suggestion that Greg may be able to help “them” get USF Bulls tickets. My point is taht the schmaltzy complaining type posts about something (or anything) about the Mets generally come from Mr. Prince.

  • Anonymous

    And yet I don't complain about you.

  • Anonymous

    I sent the following letter the day after we received our first invoice notice:
    ———-
    Matt,
    Please let me know what degree of flexibility, concessions, or additional incentives you are authorized to offer. I am not inclined to renew my four seats at this price and/or before observing what changes are in store for next year.
    Please feel free to pass the following along to your superiors.
    As your customer, I have three problems with renewing my season tickets at this time.
    First, the price is too high.
    Second, even if I were willing to pay this much, I certainly wouldn't pay this much to watch subpar baseball and a subpar team. I have no confidence that Mets management is competent enough to put together a good team. Frankly, I believe that the Mets management, beginning with Omar Minaya, is inept. I don't want to spend my hard-earned money watching a bad team, which I believe the Mets will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
    Third, I find it highly doubtful that as of December 4th, the due date for this invoice, the team will be in any way improved. It is offensive that in addition to overcharging your customers, the Mets are employing a “hard sell” approach of forcing its customers to make an uninformed decision at an arbitrary date. Additionally, even if I were willing to spend this much money, and even if I didn't think that the Mets management was inept, I frankly don't trust that the organization will follow up on its promise to make “the necessary changes… to our roster” and “field a championship-caliber team in 2010.” Over the past year, I've witnessed enough deception, spin, and double-speak (the latest being the intentionally false and misleading impression that tickets prices would be cut significantly, when in fact they were cut only marginally) that I no longer believe anything that Mets management or ownership says. I am hesitant to commit any money by December 4th, because I have a low level of confidence that ownership will follow-through on their promises.
    Additionally, please pass along to your superiors that I'm offended by the front office's public relations approach concerning the “10%-20%” drop in prices. I recognize that the statement was technically accurate, but it was also misleading (possibly intentionally so). It is not the right way to treat customers who each year spend thousands of dollars of discretionary income, and who are lately are getting far less bang for their buck.
    I look forward to hearing back from you regarding the degree of flexibility, concessions, or additional incentives you are authorized to offer.
    My information is below.
    Thank you,
    Adam

  • Anonymous

    I'm thinking the same thing , CHarlie. Between the lousy seat location & being forced to buy 5 weekday games (remember the good old days, when the Sat. plan meant only Sat. games?), I'm thinking of passing on the plan.